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IRMA STERN EXHIBITION (article first published : 2003-10-20)

Expressions of a Journey, a comprehensive exhibition of Irma Stern’s (1894 – 1966) work, is on show at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, until November 29.

Regarded as one of South Africa’s foremost and internationally renowned artists, Irma Stern’s passionate and energetic style captured the essence of German expressionism within an African context. Stern travelled extensively throughout Africa and Europe in her lifetime and her interest in the exotic is expressively portrayed in her vivid, richly textured still life paintings, landscapes and portraits.

A main focus of this exhibition is Stern’s representation of the “other” – the depiction of the female in a patriarchal society and her celebration of multiculturalism. Her vivid impressions of Africa, especially her sojourns in the Congo and Zanzibar, highly influenced her work.

“Stern’s contribution to South African art is undisputed and the Standard Bank is proud to be associated with this exhibition,” says Derek Cooper, Standard Bank Group Chairman.

Some 70 paintings, 30 works on paper, two lithographic portfolios Visionen and Dumela Morena (1920), three sculptures and four ceramics will be on display. The artworks have been drawn from well-known public institutions, corporate and private collections in South Africa.

An integral part of the exhibition is the biographical room. Here Stern’s journals and publications will provide the visitor with an insight into the artist’s colourful public and private self – her struggle to connect her idealized world with reality.

Born in 1894 in the former Transvaal, Irma Stern’s formative years were spent in Germany, where she studied art and gave her first exhibition in 1919 at the Fritz Gurlitt Gallery in Berlin. She settled in Cape Town in 1920.

An extensive lecture and walkabout programme will run concurrently with the exhibition as well as a comprehensive educational workshop for school learners.

Images of Irma Stern’s work can found at: http://www.sbgallery.co.za/gallery/stern/sternfr.htm

More information from Barbara Freemantle of The Standard Bank Gallery on 011 636 6886 or e-mail: bfreemantle@sbic.co.za




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