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24

Eugène Girardet

The Caravan

Eugène Girardet

Eugène Girardet

The Caravan

The Caravan

Eugène Girardet

French

1853 - 1907

The Caravan


signed Eugène Girardet lower right

oil on canvas

Unframed: 70.2 by 120.2cm., 27¾ by 47¼in.

Framed: 95 by 143.8cm., 37½ by 56½in.

The canvas has been lined and is providing a strong and stable support to the paint surface. There is one tiny triangular shaped loss to the centre sky, visible upon closer inspection. Examination under ultra-violet light reveals minimal retouching, one spot to the upper right sky and two spots to the upper extreme framing edge and one spot to the left upper framing edge and some fainter retouchings to the lower left corner, some strokes to the ground below the camels, to the framing edges and some scattered minor spots to the central sky.


"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."

Frost & Reed, London
Girardet's luminous, cinematic view of the nomadic life depicts a Berber tribe crossing the North African desert towards its next camp and watering place. The painting is as much a celebration of the stoicism and dignity of the self-sufficient tribesmen and women, shepherding their herd as they travel, as it is of the Atlas Mountains and the desert light.

Girardet hailed from an artistic Swiss Huguenot family, and even before his teacher Jean-Léon Gérôme encouraged him to visit North Africa he had long been inspired to travel by his uncles Karl and Edouard, who had journeyed to and painted Egypt, and from his father Paul, who had engraved episodes of the colonial war in Algeria after Horace Vernet. In 1874, Girardet embarked for Morocco, then travelled to Tunisia and Algeria, for which he developed a particular fondness.

In Algeria, Girardet spent most time in El Kantara and Bou-Saâda, in the foothills of the Saharan Atlas, painting simple everyday scenes like the present one: herds of goats in the dust, prayers in the desert, laundresses in the wadi, people going about their business among the red stone walls of the villages. In Bou-Saâda Girardet met fellower Orientalist painter Etienne Dinet with whom, back in Paris in 1877, Girardet and thirteen other artists formed the Société des peintres orientalistes français.