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Details & Cataloguing

The Orientalist Sale

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Frederick Arthur Bridgman
1847 - 1928
AMERICAN
THE PRAYER
signed and dated F.A Bridgman / 1877 lower left
oil on canvas
146 by 115cm., 57½ by 45¼in.
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Provenance

Private collection, USA

Catalogue Note

Private moments such as worship are rare in Bridgman’s oeuvre, as he is better known for his scenes of modern daily life to which he turned in his later career. The Prayer is also distinguished by its rigorous, academic style of execution; painted when the artist was thirty, the influence of his teacher Jean-Léon Gerome (lot 10) is still strongly in evidence, in contrast to the more impressionistic technique he would adopt from the 1880s on (lots 19 & 20).

Bridgman imbues the scene with a psychological intensity not only through the effects of chiaroscuro to bring the praying figure into strong relief against the dark background; unlike his teacher, Gérôme, whose numerous prayer scenes depicted the faithful from behind or in profile, with the mosque's mihrab in view, Bridgman shows the worshipper face on, allowing the viewer to share in his moment of surrender.

Born in Alabama, Bridgman arrived in Paris from America in 1866, and entered Gérôme's studio at the École des Beaux-Arts the following year. Under Gérôme’s tutelage, he developed his pictorial skills and became increasingly interested in Orientalist scenes. His first trips to Algeria and Egypt in 1872 provided a lasting inspiration for his artistic production.

The Orientalist Sale

|
London