Studio Encounters: Portraits by Irma Stern

‘Studio Encounters: Portraits by Irma Stern’, an exhibition of original paintings and sketches, opened to the public on 9 December 2003. Some thirty four works, oils and pastels, were on show – all portraits painted by the artist in Cape Town. The portraits were loaned to the SA Jewish Museum by the Irma Stern Museum and the South African National Gallery.

Irma Stern was one of South Africa’s most prolific artists, credited with introducing European modernism to this country. Stern’s 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 some forty years after her death, her work and life continue to evoke intense interest and appreciation.