View 1 of Lot 28. Jeune Fille du Caire.
View 1 of Lot 28. Jeune Fille du Caire.
28

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jeune Fille du Caire

Estimate:

200,000 - 300,000 GBP

Property from the Najd Collection

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jeune Fille du Caire

Jeune Fille du Caire

Estimate:

200,000 - 300,000 GBP

Property from the Najd Collection

Jean-Léon Gérôme

French

1824 - 1904

Jeune Fille du Caire 


signed J.L. GEROME lower right

oil on canvas

Unframed: 81 by 65cm., 31¾ by 25½in.

Framed: 125.5 by 108cm., 49½ by 42½in.


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.

Goupil & Cie., Paris (purchased from the artist on 20 May 1882; as Femme du Caire, fumant cigarette)
Delille, cercle de l'Union, Limoges (purchased from Goupil/Boussod Valadon & Cie. on 30 January 1888 as Femme du Cairo fumant)
Possibly, Knoedler, Paris (by 1897)
Possibly, Blakeslee Galleries, New York (acquired from the above on 2 February 1898 as Woman of Cairo
'The Property of a French Club' (sale: Christie’s, London, 25 November 1983, lot 74, as In the Doorway)
Mathaf Gallery, London (by 1985)
Purchased from the above
Goupil stock book 10, no. 16103, p. 215
Goupil stock book 11, no. 16103, p. 47
Goupil stock book 12, no. 18686, formerly 16103, p. 1
Oeuvres de J.L. Gérôme, vol. XIX, no. 2
Catalogue de Paris, 1883, p. 63 (as Femme du Caire)
Knoedler’s stock book 4, no. 8282
Lynne Thornton, Women as Portrayed in Orientalist Painting, vol. 3, Paris, 1985, p. 115
Gerald M. Ackerman, The Life and Work of Jean-Léon Gérôme, Paris, 1986, p. 115, illustrated (as Woman of Cairo); pp. 250-51, no. 308, catalogued & illustrated (as Woman of Cairo/Femme du Caire and dated 1882)
Gerald M. Ackerman, Jean-Léon Gérôme: His Life, His Work, Paris, 1997, pp. 118-19, catalogued & illustrated (as Woman of Cairo and mistakenly as signed lower left)
Caroline Juler, Najd Collection of Orientalist Paintings, London, 1991, p. 141, described; p. 152b, catalogued & illustrated (dated 1882)
Gerald M. Ackerman, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Monographie révisée, Paris, 2000, p. 126, illustrated (as Femme du Caire [fumant une cigarette]); p. 304, no. 308, catalogued & illustrated (as Femme du Caire [fumant une cigarette]; and dated 1882)
Piya Pal-Lipinski, The Exotic Woman in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction and Culture: A Reconsideration, New Hampshire, 2005, pp. 7-8, described
 

Almeh, from the Arabic ‘learned woman’, was the name for a class of female entertainers and courtesans in Egypt. Trained in dancing, singing and poetry, almehs (Arabic plural awalim) were present at festivals and entertainments and were also hired as mourners at funerals. 


Gérôme's composition Dance of the Almeh (1863, Dayton Art Institute) marked an important early appearance of such women 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.


So enamoured was Gérôme by the almeh girls, that he even bargained for items of their clothing, which could be worn by his models on his return to France. In fact, Gérôme painted a whole series of pictures of almehs in the next few years, all of them shown wearing the same silk trousers and diaphanous blouses. Often these paintings were single-figure compositions with the model staring seductively at the viewer, as shown here. The sitter, framed by a doorway with a cigarette in hand, makes eye contact with the viewer, as if inviting us to enter.