Originally trained in the German Expressionism, she realized stereotypical portraits but in a perfect artistic technique with bright colors. Her characters communicate intensely with the viewer, possibly hiding some difficulty of the artist to define her own social position.
Her trip to Dakar in 1938 linked her to a group of Arab ethnicity. In 1939, her first stay in Zanzibar meets a desire of a deep immersion inside a similar community. The population of the island is almost exclusively Muslim. She had the ingenious idea to create her own frames by recuperating or imitating the carved panelings which are a spectacular local art.
Young men are authoritarian and inflexible. The beard is black and turbans are brightly colored. A double portrait in a frame 75 x 97 cm was sold for ZAR 21M including premium by Strauss on September 26, 2011.
The old priest has a thick white beard. His figure was sold for ZAR 17,3M including premium by Strauss on 11 June 2012. A slightly sulky young woman with a straight gaze fetched £ 1,08M (ZAR 19,3M) including premium on March 19, 2014 at Bonhams.
On September 9 in London, Bonhams sells another oil on canvas of the same year, 61 x 51 cm, also within a Zanzibar frame, entitled Arab in black, lot 12 estimated £ 700K. At the lower edge of the image, the hand of the young bearded man is holding the hild of his dagger.
Around 1960 through an auction in Johannesburg, the sister in law of the anti-apartheid activist Helen Suzman donated the painting to the benefit of the defendants in the trial of the signers of the Freedom Charter, among whom history retains the names of Luthuli, Sisulu, Mandela and Tambo.