T he Orientalist Sale brings together paintings representing the landscapes, people and cultures of North Africa, Egypt, the Levant, Arabia and the Ottoman world during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Highlights from the sale include Jean-Léon Gérôme’s A Veiled Beauty, painted in 1876, showing a woman in the latest Eastern fashion inspired by French haute couture. Jean Discart’s finely painted work The Basket Weaver, Tangier captures a man, engaged in the intricacies of his trade, and provides a detailed representation of everyday life in Morocco from the late nineteenth century. Other highlights include a work by Gérôme’s contemporary, Gustave Boulanger, whilst the Austrian school is represented by Ludwig Deutsch, Rudolf Ernst and Franz Kosler. William Simpson’s panoramic watercolour, Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, brings together both historical and contemporary Jerusalem in an impressive composition of a site with such wide significance in human history and culture.
The upcoming edition of the Orientalist Sale opens with a group of 21 works from a distinguished American collection. The vision of one man and assembled in the 1980s and 1990s, it includes works by many of the leading proponents of the genre, including Rudolf Ernst, Eugène Fromentin, Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, and Alberto Pasini, and also by lesser-known, but no less gifted, artists including the Swede Nils Forsberg, whose Dance of the Almeh is a splendidly evocative work painted on a grand scale. Drawn to the region from all corners of Europe, from France and Italy to Austria and Sweden, these artists describe the rich culture of the ‘Orient’, a nineteenth-century appellation used to refer to the lands bordering the Mediterranean, from Turkey to Cairo and North Africa.
Jean-Léon Gérôme’s A Veiled Beauty
Painted in 1876, the year after Gérôme's extended visit to Constantinople, A Veiled Beauty is a dazzling portrait which is as arresting for its jewel-like execution as it is for the power of the sitter's expression. Her face veiled by a diaphanous yasmak and wearing a tailored green ferace (or outdoor cloak) over a brocaded yellow anteri, a young woman of fashion, conscious of her elevated social status, returns the viewer’s gaze with confidence. In her hand she holds a horse-hair fly swatter, and she leans on an Ottoman carpet. The painting provides a fascinating insight into the influence of French fashion on traditional Ottoman and Arab costume at the time. Following a visit to Constantinople by Empress Eugenie in 1869, French fashion magazines were widely circulated in the Ottoman world – even within the harem - and dresses were ordered directly from Paris or commissioned from seamstresses in Pera, in emulation of the colourful European styles.
|Friday 25th March||9:00AM-4:30PM GMT|
|Saturday 26th March||12:00PM-5:00PM GMT|
|Sunday 27th March||13:00PM-5:00PM BST|
|Monday 28th March||9:00AM-4:30PM BST|
|Tuesday 29th March||9:00AM-12:00PM BST|