Irma Stern: Dahlias and Fruit

A magnificent still-life from 1960 on auction at Aspire on 19 June

12/06/2024     General News, Live Auctions

Widely regarded as one of South Africa’s most important modern artists, Irma Stern is currently being celebrated at The Venice Biennale where her work features in the prestigious, 60th International Art Exhibition, Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa and running from 20 April to 24 November 2024.

In her lifetime, the artist previously exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1958 and notably, in 1960 – the same year she painted the magnificent Dahlias and Fruit – the artist won the Peggy Guggenheim International Art Prize.


Lot 45: Dahlias and Fruit | R 6 000 000 - 8 000 000


Well-loved for her still-life works, Irma Stern’s mastery in handling paint and colour is most vividly exemplified in her brilliant compositions of lush flowers – often from her own garden – ceramic vases and other objects that the artist painted throughout her life. Although many of Stern’s diverse subjects stem from notations during her travels and expeditions, the interior spaces of her home and the sanctuary of her studio were as significant to her as the outside world. Her still-life paintings embody some of her most opulent and sensual creations. In these depictions of lavish flowers, personal items and organic objects, she seamlessly integrates form and content, Modernist concerns with visual language, and social commentary on nature, material culture and personal emotions.

Dahlias and Fruit is most certainly one of the most vibrant paintings in the artist’s oeuvre. Alive with colour and bursting with expressive energy, it immerses the viewer in a luscious array of flowers and fruits. Complementary colours animate each other: crimson reds vibrate against lush greens, the vivid lemon vase highlights the lilac blooms and cloth, while orange dahlias pulse against the blue background.

Stern’s palpable joy in both the subject and the medium underscores her love for food and flowers, whether capturing their voluptuous forms or indulging in them abundantly.

This magnificent still life is currently on view at Aspire Art in Johannesburg until the 19 June.





20th Century & Contemporary Art

19 June 2024 at 7pm



7 – 19 June 2024
Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 4:30pm
Saturday: 10 am – 2 pm


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