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37

Eugène Girardet

The Water Carriers, Tangier

Eugène Girardet

Eugène Girardet

The Water Carriers, Tangier

The Water Carriers, Tangier

Eugène Girardet

French

1853 - 1907

The Water Carriers, Tangier


signed, dated and inscribed Eugène Girardet 1878 / Tanger. lower left

oil on canvas

Unframed: 111 by 210cm., 43¼ by 82¾in.

Framed: 124.5 by 224cm., 48½ by 88in.

Original canvas. There is fine craquelure webbing throughout, most notable in the sky. There are faint stretcher marks visible upon close inspection. Under ultra-violet light there are a few minor spots of retouching visible to the sky. Overall this work is in good condition, clean and ready to hang with fresh, vibrant colours.


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.

Galleria d'Arte Esedra, Rome, 1972
Private collection, Italy
Paris, Salon, 1878, no. 1023 (as Les porteurs d'eau, à Tanger)
The present work, possibly the largest in the artist’s oeuvre, is an evocative example of one of his most representative and famous subjects - an advancing caravan through a vast and inhospitable landscape. Other examples include Camels in the Dunes at Bou-Saada (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes) and Salt Caravans in the Desert (private collection).

Painted in 1878, The Water Carriers, Tangier is a celebration of the monumental task of moving and conserving water. In the nineteenth century, before the advent of centralized water supply systems, local people and their herds would be employed to carry water, the lifeblood of society. In this impressive work, Girardet memorialises the adaptability and resolve of the local people, who were successful at surviving in such a hostile environment.

The artist depicts a herd of donkeys loaded with gourdes, waterskins and barrels, moving its precious cargo of potable water through a brightly lit terrain. The shade next to the group, enveloping one donkey in darkness, serves to accentuate the intense burning heat of the desert sun. The sheer size of the work has allowed Girardet to depict with exacting detail each element and member of the sizeable caravan and yet, they appear small in comparison to the expansive landscape. Girardet would use numerous studies he had made to capture ethnographic details and he records accurately not only costumes, animals and accoutrements but the functions of different members of the caravan; in the present work a man surveys the land sitting atop a white horse and the others, walk alongside their herd, keeping the donkeys in check and moving forward. In the distance another caravan is just visible beneath a foreboding stormy sky.

Born in Paris to a family of artists, Girardet was encouraged by his father the engraver Paul Girardet, to study at L‘École des Beaux-Arts. After spending time in Gérôme’s studio Girardet made his first trip to Spain and Morocco in 1874 and then travelled to Tunisia and Algeria. Throughout his travels he continuously searched for new places, cultures, and people, his quest taking him to Al-Kantara, Biskra, Boghara and Bou-Saada where he met the painter Etienne Dinet. Both Girardet and Dinet shared a desire to capture the scenes of North Africa accurately and as they observed them.

The present work is sold with a report by Professor Paolo Serafini, Studio d'Arte Serafini srl, Rome, and a bill of sale to the previous owner from Galleria d'Arte Esedra in Rome.