THE MORNING PRAYER
signed and dated L. Deutsch PARIS 1906 upper left
oil on panel
59 by 44.5cm., 23 by 17½in.
We are grateful to Dr Emily M. Weeks for her assistance in cataloguing this work which will be included in her critical catalogue of the artist's Egyptian and Orientalist works, currently in progress.
Omell Galleries, Windsor (by 1981)
Mathaf Gallery, London
Purchased from the above
Caroline Juler, Najd Collection of Orientalist Paintings, London, 1991, p. 43, discussed; p. 46, catalogued & illustrated
Martina Haja & Günter Wimmer, Les Orientalistes des écoles allemandes at autrichiennes, Courbevoie, 2000, p. 201, catalogued & illustrated
Brussels, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique; Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung; Marseille, Centre de la Vieille Charité, Orientalismus in Europa: Von Delacroix bis Kandinsky, 2011, no. 11, illustrated in the catalogue
The Morning Prayer is a powerful and noble evocation of the Muslim world's rites and religion. A man is absorbed in prayerful contemplation facing towards the Kaaba in Mecca. The figure has discarded his cloak, shoes and cane to adopt the initial standing takbir position of the raka'ah, or prayer sequence. The detailed depiction of the northwest Persian Kurdish rug, which features a mina-khani blossom and trellis design, as well as the wide variety of textures and surfaces, reflects Deutsch’s precision. Deutsch might have seen a Mamluk water jar with Kufic inscriptions, similar to the one in the present work, in the Museum of Islamic Art which opened in Cairo in 1880.
Despite being one of the leading Orientalist artists, very little is known of Ludwig Deutsch’s life. He settled in Paris in 1878 and studied under painter Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921). Whilst The Morning Prayer demonstrates Deutsch's fascination with the Muslim world and his desire to understand and record its culture in painstaking detail, it also testifies to his impeccable use of composition.