This year’s Orientalist Sale, the fourth in the series launched in 2012, totalled £5.8 million. With private and institutional buying from around the world, including Europe, Turkey, the MENA region and Asia, the success of the sale is testament to the continued and growing appeal of this genre. The keystone of the sale was Ludwig Deutsch’s 1893 painting The Palace Guard, an icon of Orientalist art. However, Turkish views were also particularly well represented in this year’s sale, resulting in strong interest from that country and a new world auction record for Fausto Zonaro. Overall, five of the top 10 prices established records for the artists at auction; buyers in the Turkey, MENA and Asia region accounted for 68% of the total hammer turnover of the auction.
The paintings offered in this year’s Orientalist Sale take us on a sweeping journey across the lands known in the 19th century as the Orient: from Morocco in the west, through Turkey, Egypt, and the Levant, as far as India in the east. Between them, these images provide a fascinating insight into the cultures, costumes, and landscapes of these countries from circa 1830 to 1930. Among the highlights are two masterpieces by Ludwig Deutsch, The Palace Guard and In the Madrasa, and a re-discovered canvas of a street celebration in Constantinople, entitled Bayram, by Fausto Zonaro, the last court painter to the Sultans. The sale builds on the successes of our 2012, 2013 and 2014 sales, which have established new auction records for works by painters and sculptors of the genre.