Lot 10
  • 10

Ludwig Deutsch

500,000 - 700,000 GBP
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  • Ludwig Deutsch
  • The Offering
  • signed L. Deutsch PARIS 1897 lower right
  • oil on panel
  • 61.5 by 80cm., 24¼ by 31½in.


Doig, Wilson & Wheatley, Edinburgh
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owners circa 1900, thence by descent


The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd., of 13 & 14 Mason's Yard, London SW1Y 6BU: Structural condition The artist's panel appears stable and is providing an even structural support. Paint surface The paint surface has an even varnish layer. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows some minor retouchings covering fine lines of craquelure above the head of the figure standing above the steps on the right of the composition, and some within the blue cloth held by the figure on the left of the composition. There are some small areas of uneven fluorescence within parts of the architecture in the background of the composition which may be retouching but may be due to the nature of the artist's materials and techniques. There are also some tiny spots of retouching to the corners and framing edges. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition and no further work is required.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

The Offering is a tour de force of Orientalist art, a masterful observation of the customs, costumes and architecture of the East, rendered with faithful verisimilitude and in painstaking detail. The importance Deutsch attached to this composition is reflected by the fact that he painted a second, undated, version, with minor compositional differences and measuring 69.8 by 95.5cm, now in a private collection (see Lynne Thornton, Les Orientalistes, peintres voyageurs, Paris, 2001, p. 241).

A cortège of four figures approaches an entrance guarded by a Nubian sentinel to pay their tributes. Leading the retinue is an elder bearing a rolled scroll. He leads a nobleman and a soldier. The soldier wearing the helmet carries a Persian Qajar ivory-hilted jambiya in his belt and an Ottoman shamshir sword with a curved blade in his hand. They are accompanied by a servant carrying the gifts to be presented, including a Qajar gold-overlaid helmet and an Ottoman yataghan as worn by the Janissary Guard. The well-armed sentinel standing guard, his yataghan bared, carries not only a kindjaldagger but an Ottoman flintlock pistol and a powder flask in his belt. The entrance itself, presumably to a palace, incorporates many architectural elements from the portal of the Mosque of Sultan Hassan in Cairo (fig. 1), a site which inspired other Orientalist painters, notably David Roberts (lot 7) and John Frederick Lewis (fig. 2).

Deutsch was the leading Orientalist painter of the Austrian school, which also included Rudolf Ernst, Arthur von Ferraris, and Rudolf Weisse. He trained at the Vienna Academy in 1872 but settled in Paris in 1878, where he studied with the history painter Jean-Paul Laurens and honed his highly academic style. Deutsch began travelling regularly to Egypt in 1883, and Orientalist subjects dominated his oeuvre from this time on, earning him unprecedented praise. In 1900, three years after painting The Offering, Deutsch received a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and later the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. The polished surfaces and hallucinatory realism of his paintings were founded on a vast collection of photographs he amassed in Cairo. Deutsch also acquired hundreds of props while abroad, which dressed his Paris studio and featured in many of his paintings.