Irina Stenberg was educated in Tbilisi. In the late 1920s she entered the world of the Russian artistic elite. In the 1930s she returned to Georgia and began doing artistic work for local theatres. In order to do so, however, she had to renounce her early work as “bourgeois” in accordance with the Soviet diktat of that time.
She played an important role in the establishment of Georgian scenography. She is known mainly as a theatre artist while her individual visual artworks are lesser known, but it is precisely in her paintings and graphic works that her individual style can be best seen. Her unusual imagery, laden with transgressive fantasy and eroticism, as well as subtle irony, fit in well with the modernist aesthetic of the day and made her works especially unique.
Interest in Stenberg’s earlier works was renewed only in the late. 20th century.