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Vivia Ferreira

Irma Stern: Portrait of Vivia Ferreira

1957. Oil on canvas, 61 x 40 cm


From the team

Lucinda Cullum, administrator and marketing officer at the Irma Stern Museum:

The numerous portraits on display on the infamous “pink wall” as you enter the lounge at the Irma Stern museum have many viewers experiencing strong emotions.

The portrait of Vivia Ferreira particularly intrigues me as I enter the room in the morning. The sunshine filters through the half-drawn curtains and the rays highlight the portrait of Vivia Ferreira, then social editor of the Cape Town Hospitality Club. In this light the painted cherries on the sitter’s hat shine particularly brightly.

The 1950’s fashion hat she wears conveys a sense of social status, style and warmth, and the cherries depict a sense of fertility, vitality and youth. Christopher Peter, former Director of the Irma Stern Museum writes: “Irma Stern adored hats and was often photographed in them.” One can see her interest in the detailed rendering of this cherry hat. I’m particularly enticed by the downward tilt of her head, which depicts a reflective moment. It is said that Irma completed this oil painting very spontaneously, in a single sitting of one and a half hours.



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