Irma Stern was born in Schweizer-Reneke

Irma Stern was born in Schweizer-Reneke, a small town in the Transvaal in South Africa, her father was a German man and her mother a Jewish woman. After the war Irma Stern and her family moved back to Germany. In 1913 Irma Stern studied art at the Wemar academy in Germany, she was associated with the German Expressionist of that period. In 1919 she had her first exhibition on Berlin. Irma Stern returned to Cape Town, South Africa in 1920 until she passed away in 1966.
‘Eternal Child’ painted in 1916, oil on canvas. The Eternal Child was one of the few painting that Irma Stern painted with the subject being children it was also the first painting that Irma Stern Painted that clearly showed her change in the way she paints and the fact that she was done with oils on board. The girl who Irma Stern had painted for ‘Eternal Child’ was a little girl who Stern had seen on a train in Germany and Stern had painted this figurative artwork from memory. Eternal Child could/can evoke reactions and strong emotions from the viewer because of the strong and meaningful message behind the painting. The girls small body and big head represents the child’s fragility as do her little hands that’s grasping onto the flowers like it’s the only thing she has left after the war. Irma Stern was trying to indicate the damage the war does to the youth but many people didn’t get that message they would look at the painting and just see a little girl with a big head and small body holding onto flowers. Stern was trying to say that the children of the war were defenceless and very afraid, yet there is a glimmer of hope in their eyes that the war will be over soon. The little girls eyes are hopeful, bright and wide just like the flowers in her hands. The focal colour of the Eternal Child is the pink that is found on the little girls face as pink represents the innocence of this girl. The tonal values of this painting contrast with one another greatly, the background is dull and flat giving it the lack of depth so that the viewer can pay their full attention of the ‘Eternal Child’ and hopefully get the message that Irma Stern was trying to portray, but then again all the work in the painting is flat so it can have that two-dimensional look though the detail of the little girls face has the most depth, this way the viewer can see that the child is terrified yet there is a bit of hope in her eyes.