575
575
Frederick Arthur Bridgman
AMERICAN
AN EGYPTIAN PROCESSION
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 68,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT
575
Frederick Arthur Bridgman
AMERICAN
AN EGYPTIAN PROCESSION
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 68,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Art

|
New York

Frederick Arthur Bridgman
1847 - 1928
AMERICAN
AN EGYPTIAN PROCESSION
signed F.A. Bridgman and dated 1902 (lower left) 
oil on canvas
33 by 63 in.
83.8 by 160 cm
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We would like to thank Dr. Ilene Susan Fort, Curator Emerita, American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, for kindly confirming the authenticity of this lot and contributing additional cataloguing information. 

Provenance

Gerald P. Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Private Collection (and sold, Sotheby's, New York, October 27, 1988, lot 53, illustrated)
Private Collector, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Thence by descent

Exhibited

Possibly, New York, Society of American Artists, 1905, no. 233

Literature

Ilene Susan Fort, "Frederick Arthur Bridgman and the American Fascination with the Exotic Near East," Ph.D. diss., The City University of New York, 1990, pp. 405-6, illustrated fig. 202
Gerald M. Ackerman, American Orientalists, Paris, 1994, p. 48, illustrated p. 49 (as Procession in Honor of Isis

Catalogue Note

In 1903, Frederick Arthur Bridgman exhibited an Egyptian processional scene at the Paris Salon. Called Procession en l’honneur d’Isis and featuring an elaborately detailed Egyptian interior, it was later sent to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and the National Academy of Design in New York.  Though the present whereabouts of that highly acclaimed canvas are not known, the variation presented here, painted in 1902, offers a clear indication of the reason for its fame.

An Egyptian Procession was one of several historical genre scenes produced late in Bridgman’s career, and one of four major processional scenes painted between 1879 and 1919.  These works were closely related — both thematically and compositionally — to the artist’s historical reconstructions of the 1870s, the most famous of which were Les funerailles d’une momie (location unknown), exhibited at the 1877 Paris Salon, and The Procession of the Bull Apis of 1879 (sold in these rooms, May 22, 2018, lot 41). The archaeological detail and exotic subject matter of these paintings immediately compelled comparisons to Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904), Bridgman’s teacher and mentor in Paris during the 1860s.  (Indeed, it was said that, "[W]hen translated into American, Gérôme means Frederic A. Bridgman," The Perry Magazine, June 1904, 6.10, p. 421). Bridgman would later bring his own sensibility to Gérôme’s academic teachings, adopting a more naturalistic aesthetic emphasizing the opalescent colors and painterly brushwork seen here.

In the present work, the Greco-Roman temple of Philae acts as a picturesque backdrop for an ancient Egyptian religious procession in honor of the goddess Isis (Navigium Isidis), to whom it was dedicated.  The pharaoh who leads the way, incense-burner in hand, wears the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, indicating Isis’s universal worship, while the sacred Apis bull just behind him is adorned with flowers and a solar disk. (As the cow goddess, Isis was believed to be the mother of Apis.)  Bridgman made sketches at the fabled site first in 1874 and again during his numerous subsequent visits to the region; these, combined with his diligent research into the manners and customs of the ancient Egyptians, allowed him to create a remarkably vibrant — if ultimately over-embellished — scene of ritual and revel. 

It is worth noting that the setting of Bridgman’s picture would have been particularly resonant in 1902 – this was the year that the Aswan Low Dam was built by the British, threatening the monuments at Philae by changing the rise and fall of the surrounding Nile River.

This catalogue note was written by Emily M. Weeks, Ph.D. 

19th Century European Art

|
New York