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52

Etienne Dinet

Students in the Courtyard at Al-Azhar University, Cairo

Etienne Dinet

Etienne Dinet

Students in the Courtyard at Al-Azhar University, Cairo

Students in the Courtyard at Al-Azhar University, Cairo

Etienne Dinet

French

1861 - 1929

Students in the Courtyard at Al-Azhar University, Cairo


signed E. DINET lower right

tempera on cardboard

Unframed: 30 by 23.5cm., 11¾ by 9¼in.

Framed: 61 by 54cm., 24 by 21¼in.

The work is in good condition some minor surface dirt, otherwise ready to hang.


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Frédéric Lung Collection; thence by descent (until 2021)

Etienne Dinet & Sliman ben Ibrahim, La vie de Mahomet, prophète d'Allah, Paris, 1918, p. 161, illustrated
Denise Brahimi & Koudir Benchikou, La vie et l'oeuvre de Etienne Dinet, Paris, 1984, p. 257, no. 420, illustrated (as Élèves théologiens dans la cour de l'université de El Azhar au Caire)
Paris, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, 1914
Paris, Palais Galliera, Foire du Livre, 1918
Paris, Exposition Coloniale, Rétrospective Etienne Dinet, 1931
The present work depicts a number of theological students, reading, conversing and walking in the sunny courtyard of Al-Azhar madrasa (with the towers and minarets of the Al-Azhar Mosque visible). Al-Azhar is one of the oldest and most revered universities in the Islamic world. The university was founded in 970 or 972 by the Fatimid Caliphate as a centre of Islamic learning. The Qur'an and Islamic law were studied in detail along with other subjects such as logic and grammar. Today it is one of the most prestigious centres of Arabic literature and Islamic learning and has a notable library. Ludwig Deutsch also painted the courtyard of the university (although from a different viewpoint) in his Salon entry of 1890, now in the collection of the Sharjah Art Museum.

Dinet was interested in depicting children and teenagers at play or at study, and after he converted to Islam in 1913, his works also focused on religious themes. In 1918, he published a book made in collaboration with his friend Sliman ben Ibrahim, titled The Life of Mohammad, the Prophet of Allah. The present work is one of the illustrations, as well as an interior of a village school in Dinet’s beloved Algeria, depicting five young boys attending a writing lesson. Dinet, who spoke Arabic fluently and settled permanently in North Africa, worked in partnership with ben Ibrahim on a total of eight books.

Frédéric Lung, the first owner of this work, was a businessman, wine merchant, philanthropist and patron of the arts in Algeria. He owned paintings by Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, Charles Dufresne and other works by Dinet such as The Koranic School, which was exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Algériens et Orientalistes in 1913 and L'Andalousie au temps des Maures painted circa 1900. His widow bequeathed a large number of paintings to the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 1961.