Lot 6
  • 6

Eugène Girardet

150,000 - 200,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Eugène Girardet
  • Evening Prayers
  • signed Eugène Girardet lower left
  • oil on canvas
  • 73 by 100cm., 28¾ by 39in.


Estate of the artist (sale: Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 20 March 1908, lot 71)


Nantes, Huitième exposition de la Société des amis des arts de Nantes, 1897, no. 115
Paris, Exposition Universelle, 1900, no. 81

Catalogue Note

Scenes of prayer occupy a central position in nineteenth-century Orientalist art. Evening Prayers is not only a splendid evocation of the North African desert, but affords a fascinating glimpse into the rituals of Muslim worship. In the cool shade cast by the building behind them, a group of men on a rooftop face Mecca in prayer. The initial invocation to God, or takhbir, performed standing, is over. Two of the men remain on their feet but are about to join the two figures nearest the viewer to sit upright in a brief moment of reflection before the sujud or prostration - already being performed by the two farthest figures - during which the forehead is reverently placed to the ground.  Girardet hailed from an artistic Swiss family, and even before his teacher Jean-Léon Gérôme encouraged him to visit North Africa he had long been inspired to travel by his uncles Karl and Edouard, who had journeyed to, and painted, Egypt; and from his father Paul, who had engraved episodes of the colonial war in Algeria after Horace Vernet. In 1874, Girardet embarked for Morocco, then travelled to Tunisia and Algeria, for which he developed a particular fondness. He spent subsequent visits in Algiers and Boghari, but above all in El Kantara and Bou-Saâda, in the foothills of the Saharan Atlas, painting scenes of daily life like the present one.