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

Charles Théodore Frère

Sunset on the Nile

Charles Théodore Frère

Charles Théodore Frère

Sunset on the Nile

Sunset on the Nile

Charles Théodore Frère

French

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.

The canvas has been relined. There are fine lines and scattered spots of retouching visible under ultra-violet light. Some of these appear to be retouchings for repaired tears, most notably: a vertical line of 15cm length in the lower left quarter of the composition, two hooked lines of 11cm length in the palm tree tops, a further hooked line in the sky in the upper left, a 10 cm long vertical line next to the kneeling figure, and an 8cm long horizontal line beneath the standing figures. There are further fine lines along the upper edge and in the sky. None of these retouchings are visible to the naked eye in daylight, and overall this work presents well and is clean and 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."

Sale: Sotheby's, London, 25 November 1987, lot 17 
Paris, Salon, 1877, no. 872 (as Un soir, dans la Haute-Egypte)
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.