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STERN EXHIBITION TO THE CAPE (article first published : 2003-11-22)

Studio Encounters: Portraits by Irma Stern, the newly curated exhibition of paintings and sketches, will move from the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg to the South African Jewish Museum from December 9 until April 30 2004.

Some 30 works, oils and pastels will be on show, all portraits painted by the artist in Cape Town. The portraits have been loaned to the SA Jewish Museum by the Irma Stern Museum and the South African National Gallery.

Shea Albert, director of the South African Jewish Museum says "There has been a remarkable resurgence of interest in the work of Irma Stern, and we hope that the aspect of her prodigious creativity that we have chosen will give visitors a fresh look at her work."

The timing of the exhibition coincides with the Art in the Gardens festival in the Company Gardens, so this will be a logical and happy extension of the experience of visitors to the area.

Irma Stern was one of South Africa's most prolific artists, credited with introducing European modernism to this country. Her work is distinguished by its vitality and rich colour, imbuing her subjects with an energy that is almost palpable. Her portraits are of real people friends and family, famous personalities and the strangers whose faces intrigued her and who consequently were seduced into sitting for her.

Now almost 40 years after her death, her work and life continue to evoke intense interest and appreciation.

"We are delighted to be working so closely with the Irma Stern Museum on this exhibition, and hope that this will be just the first of many interesting collaborative ventures," says Shea Albert.

Christopher Peter, director of the Irma Stern Museum says "The portrait paintings in the permanent collection of the Irma Stern Museum are undoubtedly amongst the greatest treasures. Irma Stern was a consummate portraitist, imbuing these works with an incisive immediacy and psychological probing, which did not always endear her to her sitters or the buying public. Consequently we are able to enjoy them in various ways as they not only provide us with visual pleasure but also tell a story of her life and her social milieu.

"We are excited by this new association with our colleagues at the South African Jewish Museum and very grateful to Shea Albert for thinking of it in the first place."

Further from Vanessa Levenstein on 021-465-1546 or e-mail: vanessal@sajewishmuseum.co.za




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