Lot 15
  • 15

Paul Joanowits

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Paul Joanowits
  • Bashi-bazouks before a Gateway
  • signed P. Joanowits lower right
  • oil on panel
  • 46 by 35cm., 18 by 14¾in.


MacConnal-Mason Ltd., London
Purchased from the above by the present owner in 2004


Nikola Kusovac, Dejan Medaković et al., Paja Jovanović, Belgrade, 2009, p. 232, illustrated
Nikola Kusovac, Paja Jovanović, Belgrade,, 2010, p. 125, illustrated
Petar Petrović, Paja Jovanović - sistemski katalog dela [catalogue raisonné], Belgrade, 2012, p. 24, no. 21, catalogued & illustrated

Catalogue Note

Painted circa 1887-88.

Bashi-bazouks were irregulars in the Ottoman army and hailed from lands across the Ottoman empire, from Egypt to the Balkans. The strain on the Ottoman feudal system caused by the Empire's wide expanse required heavier reliance on irregular soldiers. They were armed and maintained by the government, but did not receive pay and did not wear uniforms or distinctive badges. Because not formally trained, they could not serve in major military operations, but were useful for other tasks such as reconnaissance and outpost duty. The two soldiers, in all their regalia, converse in an Egyptian setting, the gate topped by Mamluk carvings and flanked by East African 'Grandees' chairs', amalgams of Mamluk, Portuguese, and Indian influence. Both men are armed with Ottoman flintlock rifles from Algeria, and the standing guard smokes an Ottoman chibouk pipe with a tophane bowl. On the left, a seventeenth-century Ottoman Tulip-period Tombak ewer rests on the arm of one of the chairs. 

Joanovitch studied at the Vienna Academy under Karl Leopold Müller. His patrons included King Alexander of Serbia. He exhibited in Vienna, Munich, and Berlin, where his meticulously observed Montenegrin and Albanian subjects, particularly of warriors and bashi-bazouks, met with international acclaim, prized by English and American collectors alike.