Edwin Lord Weeks
1849 - 1903
signed E.L. Weeks lower left
oil on canvas
Unframed: 73.5 by 100.5cm., 29 by 39½in.
Framed: 99 by 127cm., 39 by 50in.
The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the late Ellen K. Morris.
This painting is in good overall condition, presents well and is ready to hang.
The canvas has been relined. Ultra-violet light reveals strokes of retouching along the right edge and some minor spots elsewhere; a number of small areas fluoresce green overall, however these appear to be attributable to the artist's pigments.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Edwin Lord Weeks was one of the most important American Orientalist painters of the late nineteenth century and his work reflects his travels to the regions he depicted. In 1892, Weeks travelled overland from Turkey to India by way of Persia, and published a travel account in serial format for Harper’s Bazaar magazine, titled From the Black Sea through Persia and India, which earned him fame and widespread artistic recognition in Europe and America.
In the present work, Weeks invites the viewer to join the audience of a Nautch dancer as she performs on an urban street, a scene that he likely witnessed during his travels in northern India. Weeks was primarily interested in depicting everyday scenes from the places he travelled, and the present work demonstrates his keen eye for detail in addition to his enthusiasm for the culture in which he immersed himself. Just as his dancing girl entrances the audience around her, Weeks is aware that a compelling narrative had the power to attract viewers.
As Gerald M. Ackerman writes: '[Weeks'] ability to draw ethnic types without condescension or caricature, his skill in putting together grand compositions, his ability to tell convincing tales – all these skills make his paintings compelling. His wonderful eye for architecture, not just for its stylistic niceties, but also for its presence in sunlight, transmits a view of the past that has to be accepted as true.' (Ackerman, American Orientalists, Paris, 1994, p. 244).