EDWIN LORD WEEKS | Dancing Girl, India



(American, 1849 – 1903)

Dancing Girl, India
signed E.L. Weeks lower left
oil on canvas
73.5 by 100.5cm., 29 by 39½in.

Price Available Upon Request

Collection of Mrs. Lucie Cable Castleman, St. Louis (by 1896); thence by descent
Purchased by the present owner in New York in 2015

Edwin Lord Weeks was one of the most important American orientalist painters of the late nineteenth century. In 1892, Weeks traveled overland from Turkey to India by way of Persia, and published a travel account in serial format for Harper’s Bazaar magazine, titled From the Black Sea through Persia and India, which earned him fame and widespread artistic recognition in Europe and America.

In the present work, Weeks invites the viewer to join the audience of a Nautch dancer as she performs on an urban street, a scene that he likely witnessed during his travels in northern India. Weeks was primarily interested in depicting everyday scenes from the places he traveled, and the present work demonstrates his keen eye for detail in addition to his enthusiasm for the culture in which he immersed himself. Just as his dancing girl entrances the audience around her, Weeks is aware that a compelling narrative had the power to attract viewers. As Gerald M. Ackerman writes: “His ability to draw ethnic types without condescension or caricature, his skill in putting together grand compositions, his ability to tell convincing tales – all these skills make his paintings compelling. His wonderful eye for architecture, not just for its stylistic niceties, but also for its presence in sunlight, transmits a view of the past that has to be accepted as true.” (Ackerman, American Orientalists, Paris, 1994, p. 244).

We would like to thank Dr. Ellen K. Morris for kindly confirming the authenticity of this lot which will be included in her Edwin Lord Weeks catalogue raisonné.

For all enquires, please contact Sarah.deClercq@sothebys.com