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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 1 December 2021

The €1.4 million painting being used as a noticeboard

The painting was once used to raise money for Nelson Mandela’s legal fees.

irma stern painting Source: Bonhams

A PAINTING THAT was being used as as noticeboard is expected to sell for between €1 million and €1.4 million.

The piece was spotted by an art expert on an inspection at a London flat.

The work, Arab in Black, is by South African artist Irma Stern.

It was recognised by Hannah O’Leary who works as a specialist in African art with Bonhams auction house, who are selling the piece.

Speaking about it, she said, “I was undertaking a routine valuation when I spotted this masterpiece hanging in the kitchen covered in letters, postcards and bills.”

As well as being hugely valuable, the picture also has added political significance.

It was originally owned by South African art collector Betty Suzman. Through her it was then passed onto her sister-in-law Helen Suzman, who served as an anti-apartheid MP in South African parliament during the years of apartheid.

In the early 1960s the picture was sold to raise money for Nelson Mandela and his co-defendants during their Treason Trial. The trial ran from 1956 until March 1961 when all of those involved were found not guilty.

Mandela was given a life sentence for treason three years later along with co-activist Walter Sisulu and six others at the Rivonia Trial of 1964.

The work of Irma Stern has risen significantly in value in recent years. In 2013 her painting ‘Arab Priest’ sold for more than £3 million (€4.3 million).

Arab in Black will go on sale on 9 September.

Read: This woman has said thanks for the Yes vote by leaving free pieces of art about the place

Also: This artist’s paintings of Conor McGregor have gone viral

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