Property from the Najd Collection
1824 - 1904
Jeune fille du Caire
signed J.L. GEROME lower right
oil on canvas
53 by 41cm., 20¾ by 16in.
The canvas is lined and is securely attached to a keyed wooden stretcher with an additional loose lining. This is providing a stable support.
The paint surface is even.
Inspection under ultra-violet light reveals an even layer of varnish and some isolated spots of cosmetic retouching, including small spots around the female figure's feet and in the shawl wrapped around her waist, some spots around the still life closer the centre of the right framing edge and other minor spots in the background. The main figure is virtually untouched.
This work is in good condition, presents very well and is ready to hang.
Presented in a decorative gilt frame with a nameplate.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Possibly, Ernest Gambart or Henry Wallis, London (by 1871; as An Eastern Girl or Femme au/du Caire)
Goupil & Cie., New York
Possibly, Williams and Everett, Boston (purchased from the above on 15 April 1872, as Femme du Caire)
George Mc Culloch, London (by 1896, as An Eastern Girl)
Possibly, Sale: Christie's, London, 17 November 1961
Shickman Gallery, New York (by 1970)
Sale: Sotheby's Parke Bernet, New York, 25 February 1982, lot 123 (as Arab Girl in a Doorway)
Mathaf Gallery, London
Purchased from the above
London, French Gallery, Exhibition of the Works of Continental Painters, March/April 1871, no. 35 (as An Eastern Girl)
London, Royal Academy, Collection of George McCulloch, 1909 (as An Eastern Girl)
New York, Shickman Gallery, The Neglected 19th Century; an Exhibition of French Paintings, 1970, no. 20 (as An Arab Girl in a Doorway)
Sydney, The Art Gallery of New South Wales; Auckland, Auckland Art Gallery, Orientalism: Delacroix to Klee, 1997-8, no. 42, illustrated in the catalogue (as The Almeh [with pipe] and dated 1873)
Goupil stock book 5, no. 5419, p. 123
Goupil stock book 5, no. 6402, p. 217
Athenaeum, 8 April 1871, p. 439 (as An Eastern Girl)
The Art-Journal, 1 May 1871, p. 145 (as An Eastern Girl)
The Art-Journal, vol. 58, 1896, p. 20, illustrated (as engraving), p. 21, described (as An Eastern Girl)
Gerald M. Ackerman & Richard Ettinghausen, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Dayton, Ohio, 1972, p.19, illustrated (as An Arab Girl in a Doorway)
Gerald M. Ackerman, The Life and Work of Jean-Léon Gérôme, Paris, 1986, pp. 232-33, no. 229, catalogued & illustrated (as Arab Girl in Doorway/Jeune Fille arabe dans un passage and dated 1873)
Philip Hook and Mark Poltimore, Popular 19th Century Painting, A Dictionary of European Genre Painters, Antique Collectors' Club, Suffolk, 1986, p. 360, catalogued & illustrated
Caroline Juler, Najd Collection of Orientalist Paintings, London, 1991, p. 141, described (and dated 1873); p. 152c, catalogued & illustrated
Gerald M. Ackerman, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Monographie révisée, Paris, 2000, pp. 282-83, no. 229, catalogued & illustrated (as Jeune Fille arabe dans un passage and dated 1873)
Roger Benjamin, Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880-1930, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London, 2003, p. 26, fig. 8, catalogued & illustrated
Painted in 1873, this work belongs to the series of paintings Gérôme made of Egyptian almehs (courtesan entertainers) in the 1870s and 1880s. In these works, almehs posed for half or full-length portraits, in interiors or leaning from a balcony window, performing dances or, as here, soliciting the viewer in kasbah alleyways. Her face thinly veiled, and wearing a diaphanous blouse and silk Ottoman-style pantaloons, she gazes alluringly at the viewer while holding a long wooden shibuk against her hip. Behind her, a hooded woman shrouded in darkness approaches beneath a broken mashrabiye screen.
Gérôme's composition Dance of the Almeh (1863, Dayton Art Institute) marked an important early appearance of the type in his oeuvre; he later had the chance to observe and study almeh girls on his visit to the Fayoum oasis in 1868. His travelling companion Paul Lenoir recorded their encounter in his description of their travels published in 1872 and Gérôme’s brother-in-law Albert Goupil took photographs of them. Gérôme even bargained for items of their clothing, which could be worn by his models on his return to France. He painted a whole series of pictures of almehs in the next few years, all of them shown wearing the same full silk trousers and diaphanous blouses. Often these paintings were single-figure compositions with the model staring seductively at the viewer.
We are grateful to Dr Emily M. Weeks for her assistance in cataloguing this work which will be included in her revision of the artist's catalogue raisonné by Gerald M. Ackerman.