The permanent exhibition is hosted in Irma Stern's home, named "The Firs", which includes her studio and the famous dining room. Walk through the house and garden and explore an eclectic mix of artworks and collectors items – a unique experience of the space Irma Stern worked and lived in.
Irma Stern’s Studio
"Do not Disturb" reads a sign on the door of Irma Stern’s studio, and when one walks into this room, one feels the vibrant energy and presence of the artist as if she were still standing at the easel, painting up a storm. The studio is the heart of the museum; not only as this is where Irma created, but also as it remains substantially the way it would have been when Irma lived and worked here: paintbrushes, easel and even her painting frock, thrown over the chair as if just put aside.
Irma Stern’s fascination with religious iconography is reflected in the dining room. Spanish church carvings, 17th and 18th century Russian icons, and a massive marble baptismal font are set among a series of paintings in which Stern drew on biblical scenes for her subject matter. With exception of a cupboard painted by the artist, this room reflects the interior as it was when Irma Stern lived and entertained here.
The former entrance to Irma Stern’s home is dominated by a wood-carved door from Zanzibar which she had installed here after her travels to the island. This theme and geographical reference is picked up in the artworks on display in this room.
In the lounge, Irma Stern’s portraits are displayed. They highlight the formal innovations in the art of this pioneering modernist. Here, you will also find remarkable artefacts that she collected: ancient Roman, Pre-Columbian American and Eastern pieces. These collections are exhibited on furniture from Medieval and Renaissance Europe, placed there much as they would have been when Irma lived here.