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 Stella Steyn  (1907 - 1987)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/Ireland      Known for: painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Seated woman in a red hat
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Of Russian and German extraction, Stella Steyn was born in Dublin and educated at Alexandra College and the Metropolitan School of Art. She was an outstanding art student and her tutors recognized her as “a pupil of genius” (Belfast Observer, 15 June 1930).

She was selected for numerous group exhibitions including the RHA and the 1929 Contemporary Irish Art exhibition in New York. In 1926, in the company of her mother and fellow artist Hilda Roberts, she went to Paris to study at the Académie Scandinave and at La Grande Chaumière. In Paris she met James Joyce, who later asked her to provide illustrations for Finnegan’s Wake, and was briefly courted by Samuel Beckett.

In 1931 she enrolled at the Bauhaus in Germany, then the most innovative art school in Europe. She was the only Irish artist to have studied there and its teachings convinced her to adhere to her avant-garde principals for the rest of her days. Upon marriage, she settled in England in 1938.

Her subject matter henceforth developed into her most recognizable body of work: the rag-doll figures of women and her eccentrically arranged and lightly painted flower-pieces. Examples of these can be found in many collections including the British Museum, the Ulster Museum, the National Self Portrait Collection in Limerick and the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.

Whilst she exhibited rarely in Ireland after 1930, two recent retrospective exhibitions at the Gorry Gallery in 1995 and the Molesworth Gallery in 2001 have done much to renew interest in her work.

Source: Auctions

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