Still Life with Apples, c. 1937
Oil on canvas
19.75 x 26 inches
Atelier stamped verso
The Artist's Estate
Note: Described by one of her art tutors as "a pupil of genius", Stella Steyn trained in Dublin, Berlin and Paris in the 1920s. She is thought to be the only Irish artist to have studied at the Bauhaus school of art in Germany, but has been slightly forgotten in Ireland.
While in Paris, she brushed shoulders with the Irish émigrés James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. Stella was herself the child of emigrants. Her father, William Steyn, arrived in Ireland in the 1870s from Akmene, in what is today northern Lithuania. In Limerick, he met Bertha Jaffe, whose family had moved to Ireland from Berlin.
In 1926, along with fellow Irish painter Hilda Roberts, Stella went to Paris. She spent most of the next five years there, attending art schools and working in a studio in Montparnasse, the artists' quarter. To her, Paris was "the most stimulating place for the artist who really wants to work".
It was at that time that she met Samuel Beckett and her tutor from Dublin, Patrick Tuohy, arranged for her to be introduced to James Joyce. Tuohy had painted Joyce's portrait a couple of years previously and was also commissioned to paint Joyce's father, John Stanislaus Joyce, as well as Joyce's two children, Giorgio and Lucia.