Irma Stern (1894-1966), 'Arab Priest', signed and dated 'Irma Stern / 1945', oil on canvas. Like the recent world record picture `Bahora Girl’, this image is also in its original Zanzibar frame. Estimate, £1,500,000-2,000,000.

An Irma Stern painting of a distinguished Omani Arab man is expected to sell for R9 million at auction on Monday night, an auctioneer said.

“The painting 'Arab' by Irma Stern, painted in 1939, is estimated to be sold for between R7m and R9m,” said Strauss & Co spokeswoman Bina Genovese.

She said Stern's studies of Arabs had caused much excitement in the South African art market.

“Arab” was painted on Stern's first visit to Zanzibar in 1939, when Zanzibar was still under the reign of an Omani Sultan Ä

Seyyid Khalifa Bin Haroub, from 1911 to 1960.

It had been in the same family since it was purchased directly from the artist by the present owner's mother over 70 years ago, and had never before appeared on the market.

“Still in its original Zanzibar frame, embellished with flowers and foliage that are intended to invoke good fortune, the portents are promising for a most exhilarating sale,” said Genovese. - Sapa