MARIUS BAUER Festival on the Ganges, Benares, India (Feestdag aan de Ganges te Benares India)



Festival on the Ganges, Benares, India (Feestdag aan de Ganges te Benares India)
signed MBAUER lower right
oil on canvas
61 by 130.5cm., 24 by 51¼in
Painted circa 1912.

E.J. van Wisselingh & Co. Amsterdam (acquired directly from the artist in 1912; inv. no. 3319x/7579)
C.G. Vattier Kraane, Aerdenhout (acquired by 1922, until 1955)
Sale: Frederik Muller & Co., Amsterdam, 22 March 1955, lot 24 (sold for fl. 2600,—)
Sale: Christie's, Amsterdam, 21 April 1994, lot 319
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

The Hague, Pulchri Studio, 10e tentoonstelling van schilderijen en aquarellen door J. Akkeringa, M. Bauer, G.H. Breitner, G.W. Dijsselhof, W. Witsen en W. de Zwart, en eenige oudere Hollandsche en Fransche meesters benevens van toegepaste kunst door T. Nieuwenhuis, 1912
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Marius Bauer, 1922 cat. no. 37
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Eere Tentoonstelling M.A.J. Bauer, 1933
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Marius Bauer, 1867-1932, 1933, no. 36
Amsterdam, E.J. van Wisselingh & Co., Tentoonstelling van enige van zijn schilderijen en aquarellen, 1955, no. 8
Zutphen, Stedelijk Museum Zutphen and Museum Henriëtte Polak, Marius Bauer 1867-1932 : Oriëntalist, 2001, no. 24

Ankum, e.a., Marius Bauer, 1867-1932 Oriëntalist, Wassenaar, 2001, cat. no. 24., p. 126 Heibroek, e.a., Portret van een kunsthandel: de firma van Wisselingh en zijn compagnons 1838-heden, Zwolle 1999, p. 87

In the period between 1880 and 1930 many Dutch painters sought their inspiration beyond the Dutch borders. Some artists such as Willem Hofker, Gerard Adolfs, Willem Dooijewaard and Isaac Israels went very far and travelled the Orient to capture the exotic life there. However, Holland's most well known orientalist artist, without any doubt, is Marius Bauer. His oeuvre is based almost exclusively on orientalist images, which started with his first great journey to Istanbul in 1888. The region inspired him immensely, and from the outset he initially concentrated on making etchings and drawings. His interest in oil painting was really awakened in India, through which he travelled in 1897-1898.

Bauer was a real adventurer. "Yes, it can't be "far" enough for me! And the stranger and more wonderful everything is, the more I enjoy it" he wrote to his friend, journalist Maurits Wagenvoort. He probably found his greatest source of inspiration in Constantinople and India. Places that he directly associated with the tales of One Thousand and One Nights. The sketches and drawings he made there, Bauer later developed into etchings, watercolours and paintings. His work has a smooth, light touch, with the impression of being painted spontaneously and being directly inspired by reality. Although his subjects are strictly orientalist, Bauer always retained something 'Dutch' in his use of colour. He has omitted bright colours such as those of the French Orientalists.

The works of Marius Bauer seem to be enveloped in a hint of dreaminess and fairytales. Recognizable elements such as familiar buildings, exotic animals and traditional clothing evoke familiar scenes, both for experienced travellers and for people who have not been there. It was precisely these memories and associations that were very important to Bauer. For him, reality was no more than a means of inspiration and he preferred to paint from his imagination rather than reality in order to create an enchanting dreamscape set in the Orient. The current impressive painting was painted around 1911, thirteen years after Bauer returned from his travels in 1898, and can be seen as one of his most important impressions of India.

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