Born on October 2, 1894 in Schweizer-Reneke, South Africa, Stern moved to Berlin to study art during World War I. In 1916, she had her first solo show with the help of German painter Max Pechstein, and her exposure to Expressionism would figure heavily as an influence on her career.

Irma Stern was a South African artist, whose expressive portraits rendered in saturated colours were among her most widely known pieces. The painter and sculptor traveled throughout Africa to capture not only likenesses but also landscapes that are unique to the continent. She had said “it is only through personal contact that one can get a few glimpses into the hidden depths of the primitive and childlike yet rich soul of the native, and this soul is what I try to reflect in my pictures of South Africa.”

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