Lot 29
  • 29

Etienne Dinet

70,000 - 100,000 GBP
93,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Etienne Dinet
  • At Sunset, On the Terrace
  • signed and dated E. DINET. / 1904 lower left
  • oil on canvas


Private collection, Laon, France
A bequest to the present owners in 2008


Paris, Salon des Peintres Orientalistes Français, 1905, no. 202
Paris, Petit Palais, Exposition du Centenaire de la Conquête de l’Algérie, 1930, no. 440 (as Amoureux sur la terrasse)


Denise Brahimi & Koudir Benchikou, La vie et l'oeuvre de Etienne Dinet, Paris, 1984, p. 236, no. 324, catalogued & illustrated (with incorrect measurements; as Sur les terrasses après le coucher du soleil)

Catalogue Note

This rediscovered work captures a tender and intimate moment between a young couple, possibly newly-weds, on the roof of a riad. The girl has pulled back her veil to reveal her face adorned with a henna tattoo, in the shape of the lower half of a palm tree, symbolising fertility. On her chin a cinsla (a chain pattern that is also often found in Algerian weaving), is clearly visible. Tattoos were worn by Berber women to ward off the evil eye, to increase fertility or improve health, or to indicate that a girl had reached marriageable age.

Dinet took great interest in painting the Berber community of Algeria, in its traditional costumes and way of life, particularly the Ouled Naïl tribe. His 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. 

In 1904 Dinet 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: he spoke Arabic fluently, and 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.