1835 - 1902
AT THE WADI
signed V. Huguet lower left
oil on canvas
115 by 147cm., 45 by 58¾in.
Mathaf Gallery, London (by 1984)
Purchased from the above
Caroline Juler, Najd Collection of Orientalist Paintings, London, 1991, p. 177, catalogued & illustrated
London, Mathaf Gallery, Spring Exhibition, Important Orientalist Paintings of the 19th Century, 1984, illustrated in the catalogue
Sheer cliffs frame a deep ravine through which a wadi meanders, serving as a watering place for a group of Bedouin riders crossing a vast landscape. The composition and subtle grey tonalities of the work echo those of Huguet's teacher, Eugène Fromentin. Like Fromentin, Huguet excelled in depicting horses and captured their anatomy with great skill.
Huguet, who first trained under Emile Loubon in Marseille, travelled to Egypt in 1852 at the age of just seventeen. A year later he accompanied the marine painter Durand-Brager to Crimea in the lead-up to the siege of Sebastopol. But it was the landscapes of Algeria and Egypt that left the greatest impression, and which form the backdrop to his best-known works. He exhibited at the Salons of Marseille and Paris from 1859, and at the Salon des peintres orientalistes français from the year it was founded in 1893.