Lot 4
  • 4

Anders Zorn

300,000 - 500,000 GBP
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  • Anders Zorn
  • Women outside the Sidi Abderrahman Mosque, Algiers
  • signed and dated Sidi Abderaman Algier / Mars 87 / Zorn lower right
  • watercolour and gouache on paper
  • 45.5 by 28.5cm., 18 by 11¼in.


Sir Ernest Cassel, London (1852-1921; Prussian-born banker to Edward VII, Herbert Asquith and Winston Churchill, art collector and philanthropist, whose portrait Zorn painted in England)
Private collection, England


Gerda Boëthius, Anders Zorn-Tecknaren, Malaren, Etsaren, Skulptören, Stockholm, 1949, p. 542, listed (as Sidi Abderramoskén)


THIS CONDITION REPORT WAS PREPARED BY JANE MCAUSLAND ACR FIIC, CONSERVATOR AND RESTORER OF ART ON PAPER: Support The artist has used a sheet of thick, wove-type paper to support this watercolour with bodycolour painting. The edges of the sheet are slightly stained and there are artist pinholes at the corners. The unpigmented area shows some slight surface dirt. Otherwise the condition is very good. Medium The condition of the medium is good, there is no fading, but some surface rubbing on the grey tomb and the grave stones. There are some small losses in the green leaf on the upper left corner. In my opinion, this is the artist's intention as is the pentimenti on the lower left-hand side. Note: This work was viewed outside studio conditions.
"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

This rediscovered work, executed in March 1887, belongs to the small series of watercolours Zorn made in Algiers, during an extensive journey with his wife Emma to Constantinople, Greece, Italy, and North Africa. Predating Zorn's work in oil, a medium he first explored later that year in Cornwall, it shows his mastery and virtuosity in the medium of watercolour which first brought him fame. Zorn depicts the Sidi Abderrahman Mosque in Algiers, Algeria. According to Cook’s Practical Guide to Algiers, Algeria, and Tunisia (1904), 'With the exception of the Djama el Kebir…this is the oldest religious building in Algiers…. The marabout [popular saint] Abd er Rahman et Thalebi was born in 1387 and died in 1471. The mosque was built between these dates and contains his tomb, over which are hung silk banners, ostrich eggs, etc., and on which lights are kept burning.' Auguste Renoir had painted a very similar view of the Abderrahman mosque five years earlier, in 1882.

The watercolour's first owner was the German-born, London-based banker and industrialist Ernest Cassel, one of Zorn's earliest and most important patrons during his London years (1881-87), and whose introductions to members of high society led to numerous portrait commissions on both sides of the Channel, including Cassel's own (fig. 1). It is possible that the present work, which would have held sentimental value to Zorn having been made during his honeymoon, was a gift to Cassel in recognition of his unwavering support.