- Rudolf Ernst
- Prayers at Sunrise
- signed R. Ernst lower left
- oil on panel
- 78.5 by 100cm., 31 by 39½in.
Lock Galleries, New York
Sale: Sotheby's, Parke-Bernet, Los Angeles, 27 May 1974, lot 79
Frederick W. Thom Fine Paintings, Toronto
Douglas B. Marshall (purchased from the above); thence by descent
After studying at the Vienna Academy, Ernst travelled to Rome and, in the 1880s, to Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia. Later travels would take him to Egypt and, in 1890, to Turkey. In 1876, Ernst settled in France, exhibiting regularly at the Salon de la Société des artistes français and eventually taking French nationality. After starting out painting portraits and genre scenes, from 1885 Ernst turned exclusively to painting Orientalist subjects, which he worked up from the sketches, photographs, souvenirs, and memories accumulated during his travels. Almost all his paintings were executed in his studio in Paris, which he decorated in an eclectic Eastern style, and in which he would paint wearing a taboosh, the better to transport himself mentally into the world created in his canvases.
The present work formerly belonged to one of New York's magnificently decorated theatres, the Brooklyn Paramount, described in The New York Times' account of the sale of its contents in 1964 as the 'Palace of Splendour' (22 November 1964). The theatre's decoration also included John Frederick Lewis's Courtyard (Hosh) of the House of the Coptic Patriarch, Cairo (lot 90, Sotheby's New York, 8 November 2012).