1848 - 1904
PROCESSION IN JAFFA
inscribed, signed and dated Jaffa / G. Bauernfeind / München 1890 lower right
oil on canvas
105 by 135cm., 41½ by 53in.
Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.
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UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Fine Art Conservation, 14 Masons Yard, Duke Street, St James, London SW1Y 6BU.
The canvas is lined and is securely attached to a keyed wooden stretcher with one central vertical cross member. This is providing a stable structural support. An additional loose lining is attached to the stretcher.
The paint surface has a thick and glossy application of varnish.
The paint surface displays scattered networks of fine lines of craquelure, most notably within the sky. These are entirely stable and are only clearly visible on close inspection.
Inspection under ultraviolet light shows a discoloured and degraded varnish layer. Inspection under ultraviolet light also shows scattered retouchings, including:
1) numerous small retouchings within the sky towards the upper right corner,
2) a vertical line of minor retouchings with associated spots within the sky below the centre right of the upper edge,
3) a retouching within the sky above the architecture in the upper right quadrant and some further retouchings following the outline of the buildings below the centre left of the upper edge,
4) an area of retouchings below the awning towards the bottom of the left edge,
5) some minor strengthening to several of the figures including a number of retouchings within the seated figure in the lower left corner, and
6) strengthening to the dark painted flag in the centre left and some small retouchings within the archway above and to the left of this. Other minor retouchings are also visible. Many of the retouchings appear excessive and could hopefully be reduced with more careful inpainting.
The painting would therefore appear to be in good and stable condition and would benefit from cleaning, restoration and revarnishing.
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.
Sale: Christie's, London, 3 November 1977, lot 123
M. Newman Ltd., London (by 1978)
Dr. Schöbitz, Stuttgart (by 1983)
Mathaf Gallery, London
Purchased from the above
Hugo Schmid, Der Maler Gustav Bauernfeind 1848-1904, Sulz, 1980, p. 17, illustrated
Alex Carmel & Hugo Schmid, The Life and Work of Gustav Bauernfeind Orientalist Painter, Stuttgart, 1990, pl. 156, illustrated (as Street Scene in Jaffa (Procession of the Dervishes))
Caroline Juler, Najd Collection of Orientalist Paintings, London, 1991, p. 15, cited, p. 17, catalogued & illustrated (with incorrect cataloguing)
Petra S. Kühner, Gustav Bauernfeind - Gemälde und Aquarelle, Frankfurt am Main, 1995, no. 26, catalogued (as Strassenszene in Jaffa)
Lynne Thornton, Du Maroc aux Indes, Voyages en Orient, Paris, 1998, p. 215, catalogued & illustrated
Kristian Davies, The Orientalists. Western Artists in Arabia, the Sahara, Persia & India, New York, 2005, pp. 116-17, illustrated
Bern, Zentrum Paul Klee, In Search of the Orient. From Bellini to Klee, 2009, no. 73, illustrated in the catalogue
'In a word [the seasons in Jaffa] are a continual change of scene. Granted it 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 upon Bauernfeind's return to Munich after his third and final sojourn in Palestine (1888-89), this monumental painting marks the culmination of the artist's developing thoughts on - and ambitions for - his Jaffa canvases. Here, a group of dervishes and sufis leads a religious procession, possibly of pilgrims embarking on the annual Hajj to Mecca. Bauernfeind would have been quite familiar with the site of this important yearly event given his frequent visits to Damascus, the main hub and gathering point for the Syrian Hajj route south into Arabia. With flags flying, including the Solomonic seal, the crowd advances through a narrow Jaffa street on market day as onlookers, greengrocers, as well as a camel and a donkey, make way for it. In the far distance on the right, the Mediterranean Sea gleams in the evening light.
Bauernfeind took up residency in Jaffa for much of 1884-87, first in the city's German colony at the hotel belonging to Ernst Hardegg, son of the Temple Society's founder, and later in a rented house in town. Armed with his sketchbook and Detektiv camera - a miniature spy camera that hid in his waistcoat with the lens peeping through a buttonhole - he could be seen exploring the city and recording his impressions (fig. 1). He would then work these up into finished paintings, either in Jaffa itself or in his studio during intervals in Germany. These works were destined for his dealer Arthur Sulley in London or for private patrons. Bauernfeind often interrupted his tours due to financial issues, challenging living and working conditions, and frequent bouts of illness, meaning that his large-scale works of Palestine, like the present example, are few in number. Nevertheless, Bauernfeind remained determined. 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.’
As a trained architect, Bauernfeind took particular delight and interest in the streets, buildings, mosques and other city structures he visited in Palestine. With their rich and complex histories, these structures offered up myriad layers of architectural styles and landmarks. Jaffa, among the most ancient trading ports in the Levant, held a particular fascination, and the present view in Procession in Jaffa is something of a tour de force in this respect. This work represents the architectural accretions of seven hundred years of settlement from twelfth-century Christian gates and fortifications to Mamluk and Ottoman additions. Here, typical Ottoman houses with overhanging mashrabiya windows abut arches and fortifications built by the Crusaders. In the distance on the right, overlooking the harbour, is the minaret of the al-Bahr Mosque, or Sea Mosque, the oldest extant mosque in Jaffa. No detail escapes Bauernfeind's eye, down to the Hamsa or Khamsa handprint on the wall of the house on the left, a sign of protection that also represents blessings, power and strength.