The Orientalist Sale

The Orientalist Sale

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 49. Sunset on the Nile.

Charles-Théodore Frère

Sunset on the Nile

Auction Closed

March 29, 02:21 PM GMT


60,000 - 80,000 GBP

Lot Details


Charles Théodore Frère


1814 - 1888

Sunset on the Nile

signed, inscribed and dated TH. FRÈRE / LE NIL. EGYPTE. 1877 lower left

oil on canvas

Unframed: 111 by 181cm., 43¾ by 71¼in.

Framed: 113 by 183cm., 44½ by 72in.

Sale: Sotheby's, London, 25 November 1987, lot 17 
This dramatic and beautiful view of the Nile by Frère is painted on an unusually large scale and a testament to his skill and confidence as an artist by 1877. Writer, poet, painter, and art critic Théophile Gautier, an experienced traveller himself, noted that Frère's paintings exuded an authenticity that could only have come from first-hand experience of the culture and the actual scenes he encountered. In the present work, three watercarriers are back-lit by a spectacular sunset; orange and red hues light up the lower sky as the sun sinks below the horizon. A train of camels are seen heading towards the water in the distance and are mirrored by a line of birds flying high in the sky.

Frère exhibited two views of Algiers at the Paris Salon as early as 1839, marking the start of his long, distinguished, and prolific career as an Orientalist painter. Between 1839 and 1887, he exhibited over 120 landscapes and street scenes of North Africa and Egypt, all of them immediately recognisable by their vivid, luminous palette. His first trip to Syria, Palestine, and Egypt in 1851 was by way of Constantinople and Asia Minor. The tour provided him with a wealth of subjects and inspired the four works he exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855. Though based in Paris, Frère kept a studio in Cairo and became an honorary Egyptian when the Egyptian government bestowed upon him the title 'bey'. In 1869 Frère visited Egypt for the last time to witness the celebrations of the opening of the Suez Canal.