Important Works from the Najd Collection

Important Works from the Najd Collection

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 9. GUSTAV BAUERNFEIND | MARKET IN JAFFA.


Auction Closed

October 22, 05:34 PM GMT


2,500,000 - 3,500,000 GBP

Lot Details




1848 - 1904


signed, inscribed and dated G. Bauernfeind / Jaffa 1887 lower left

oil on canvas

82 by 109cm., 32 by 43in.

McLean, London, 1887

The Fine Art Society, London (by 1981)

Kurt E. Schon, Ltd., New Orleans, Louisiana

Coral Petroleum, Inc., Texas (sale: Sotheby's, New York, 22 May 1985, lot 19)

Mathaf Gallery, London

Purchased from the above

ed. Coral Petroleum, A Near Eastern Adventure, Houston, n.d, n.p, illustrated

Lynne Thornton, Les Orientalistes: peintres voyageurs 1828-1908, Paris, 1983, pp. 200-01, catalogued & illustrated

Lynne Thornton, La femme dans la peinture orientaliste, 1985, p. 185, cited

Jan Pieper, 'Hintergründe- Bedeutung der Architektur in der Malerei des Exotismus' in Der Traum vom Raum: gemalte Architektur aus 7 Jahrhunderten, exh. cat., Marburg, 1986, p. 138

Naomi Shepherd, The zealous intruders: the Western rediscovery of Palestine, San Francisco, 1987, fig. 155, also illustrated on the cover

Alex Carmen, Hugo Schmid, The life and work of Gustav Bauernfeind, Orientalist Painter 1848-1904, Stuttgart, 1990, pl. 155, catalogued & illustrated 

Erika Günther, Die Faszination des Fremden : der malerische Orientalismus in Deutschland, Münster, 1990, p. 96f, fig. no. 58, illustrated

Caroline Juler, Najd Collection of Orientalist Paintings, London, 1991, p. 15, discussed; p. 18, catalogued & illustrated

Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, Painting Palestine in the Nineteenth Century, Jerusalem & New York, 1992, p. 185, fig. 100

Petra S. Kühner, Gustav Bauernfeind: Gemälde und Aquarelle, Frankfurt, 1995, p. 213, catalogued, p. 296, illustrated

Martina Haja & Günter Wimmer, Les Orientalistes des écoles allemandes et autrichiennes, Courbevoie, 2000, p. 34, catalogued & illustrated

Lynne Thornton, Les Orientalistes, peintres voyageurs 1828-1908, Paris, 2001, p. 225, catalogued & illustrated

London, Royal Academy of Arts; Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art, The Orientalists: Delacroix to Matisse, 1984, no. 1, illustrated in the catalogue (also illustrated on the back cover of the Royal Academy of Arts catalogue)

‘A city like Jaffa, with its many orange groves all around, assumes its distinctive physiognomy when the fruit is harvested in winter...The market turns yellow with the fruit. Then comes the season for other fruits to leave their impression on the market... Granted [the fruit harvest] is much the same at home, but what makes it all the more interesting in these parts is the antique setting...and people’s costumes. So you can see that you have to live in a country like this a long time before becoming even superficially familiar with all it has to offer.’

Bauernfeind in a letter to his mother dated December 1885.

Painted in 1887, this animated market scene was no doubt inspired by Bauernfeind’s experience of harvest time in Palestine. In the middle ground on the left can be seen an abundant fruit stall including oranges and melon, while in the foreground on the left, a seated vendor sells peaches, ripe aubergines, and colourful blossom. The sellers of fresh produce rub shoulders with other merchants and craftsmen, including a weaver mending a Berber rug, a pottery seller, an arms merchant presenting a dagger to interested customers, and water and grain carriers, while a group of women seek refreshment at a well in the heat of the afternoon sun. Above the bustle on the rooftops, a woman makes aish shamsi flatbread; she allows the dough to rise in the sun, before baking it in the stone oven behind her.

Gustav Bauernfeind initially trained as an architect and became a painter relatively late in life. Inspired by a trip to Italy in 1873-1874, he abandoned his architectural career in favour of working as a landscape painter, at first producing scenes of Swiss and Italian views and cities. Looking further afield, he decided to travel to the Near East in search of more exotic subjects. Bauernfeind made three extended trips to Palestine - in 1880-1881, 1884-1887 and finally in 1888-1889 - before returning to Munich in 1890. Six years later, however, he left Germany for good to settle in Palestine, where he lived for the next eight years until his death.

Perhaps as a result of his training as an architect, Bauernfeind was particularly interested in the streets, buildings, temples and other urban architecture of the places he visited in Cairo, Jerusalem, Jaffa and Damascus, and would often travel with a camera to capture the settings of his paintings. Indeed, he had no intention of glamorising reality, nor did he seek only elaborate or monumental structures. He concentrated on genuinely observable vignettes of everyday life, on forgotten and little-known corners, markets and narrow lanes and scenes of daily life as he witnessed them. 

Bauernfeind became particularly famous for his street scenes in the Levant, notably of Jaffa. In the nineteenth century, Jaffa, along with Haifa, ranked as the most important coastal town in Palestine. The gateway to the Plain of Sharon, it was an amphitheatre-shaped city surrounded by orange groves and built upon a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. During the second half of the nineteenth century it underwent a period of significant population growth. Although Jaffa was the main port of entry for travelers to Jerusalem, Bauernfeind was one of the few Orientalist artists to depict the city.

Though there were German concessions in Jaffa and Jerusalem, standards of living for most in the nineteenth century were difficult. Bauernfeind had to endure heat, disorder and disease frequently. In an 1885 letter to his mother and sister he wrote: ‘Life here is at best an endless string of privations; yet I must admit that this rabble amongst whom I live here never fail to exert their peculiar fascination over me each time I step out into the street and catch sight of the procession of characters marching past.’