Lot 16
  • 16

Etienne Dinet

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
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  • Etienne Dinet
  • Spectateurs admirant une danseuse
  • signed and dated E DINET / 1905 lower left
  • oil on canvas
  • 84 by 102.5cm., 33 by 40┬╝in.


Galerie Allard, Paris
Marquis du P. (by 1911)
Verney Seymour Ackroyd, Bradford, Yorkshire (by the 1940s); thence by descent


Paris, Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, 1906, no. 402 (titled Dans un café de danseuses (un groupe de spectateurs) )
Paris, Galerie Allard, 1924 (titled Groupe de spectateurs admirant une danseuse)


Étienne Dinet & Slimane Ben Ibrahim, Mirages, Paris, 1906, p. 171, illustrated
Louis Vauxelles, Le Salon de 1906, Paris, 1906, p. 32, illustrated
Les Arts, Paris, no. 53, May 1906, p. 12, illustrated
Camille Mauclair, Action africaine, no. 3, March 1912, p. 8, illustrated
Afrique du Nord illustrée, no. 287, 30 October 1926, p. 7, illustrated
Gabriel Audisio, Larousse mensuel, no. 318, August 1933, p. 473, illustrated
Denise Brahimi & Koudir Benchikou, La vie et l'oeuvre de Etienne Dinet, Paris, 1984, p. 196, no. 154, catalogued & illustrated (titled Groupe de spectateurs dans un café de danseuses)


The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd., of 13 & 14 Mason's Yard, London SW1Y 6BU: Structural condition The canvas has been lined and is securely attached to a keyed wooden stretcher. This is providing an even and secure structural support. Paint surface The paint surface has an even varnish layer. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows some fine lines of inpainting, most notably within the black pigments of the central figure's clothing, within the paler pigments of the clothing of the seated figure to his left, within the upper right corner of the composition and to the face of the figure on the extreme right of the composition. There are other small spots and lines of inpainting within the composition. Summary The painting therefore appears to be in 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

Spectateurs admirant une danseuse is a superb example of Dinet's mature oeuvre, testament to his intimate knowledge of, and respect for, the people of Algeria. Fluid, almost Impressionistic brushstrokes, and beautifully confident handling of light as it filters through from behind the figures, are coupled with a sympathetic, careful observation of the men’s various expressions as they react to the dance unfolding before them.

Dinet took great interest in painting the women of Algeria in their traditional dances, particularly the dancers of the Ouled Naïl tribe. Here, however, the focus is entirely on the male onlookers’ faces, leaving the viewer to imagine the rest of the scene. As in Dinet’s best works, the frame is filled with his subjects, in a naturalistic, uncontrived composition which suggests the influence of photography on the artist’s work.

Dinet's fascination with Algeria dated from his first visit in 1883. This proved to be a turning point in his career: he returned virtually every summer thereafter, visiting the capital and oasis towns of Bou Saâda, Biskra and Laghouat. 1905, in which this work was painted, was a decisive period for Dinet. In 1904 the artist had acquired a house in Bou Saâda, the closest of the oasis towns to Algiers some 150 miles south-east of the capital, choosing to settle there permanently.

In his commitment to the places and people of Algeria, Dinet immersed himself in the life of Islamic north Africa more than virtually any other Orientalist artist. Dinet spoke Arabic fluently, and his interest in Islam became increasingly evident in his paintings (see fig. 1). In 1913 he converted to Islam, and changed his name to Nasreddin ('Defender of the Faith'). In 1929 Dinet went on the Hajj with his friend Slimane Ben Ibrahim.

More than anything Dinet intended his paintings to be faithful, as well as beautiful, records of the vicissitudes of daily life as experienced by the people of the Algerian oasis towns. Dinet’s paintings are important depictions of the life of the local people by an observer who became part of their world.