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Christie's Fall Sale of 19th Century European and and Orientalist Art Offers Discoveries of the Exquisite
James Jacques Joseph Tissot, The Japanese Scroll. Estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000© Christie’s Images Ltd. 2008.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s New York will offer an extraordinary selection of 19th Century European Art and Orientalist Art on October 22. The sale will present exquisite examples of the exotic allure of the Orient as well as the classic tradition of Europe, and will feature some of the most sought-after artists of the 19th Century such as William Adolphe Bougereau, Edwin Lord Weeks, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, James Jacques Joseph Tissot and Alberto Pasini. Combined, the sales will offer over 250 lots of great quality and beauty, with a pre sale estimate in excess of $20 million.

Orientalist Art
Leading the sale is a recently rediscovered work by Edwin Lord Weeks’s, Departure for the Hunt in the Forecount of a Palace of Jodhpore (estimate: $400,000-600,000). Among the best known and most highly regarded of the Orientalist painters, Weeks’s masterpiece depicts a regal falconer, a bejeweled Rajah and a hunting leopard assembling for the royal hunt in Palace of Jodhpore. This was a rare subject among Week’s Indian paintings, although replete with his signature attention to opulent architectural detail and the trappings of royal life in India. Weeks painted this image after returning to Paris from his travels in India and Persia, and worked solely from his photos, sketches, and vivid memory.

An important work by Alberto Pasini, arguably the most important of the Italian Orientalists, also leads the sale. Entitled Mercato in Oriente (estimate: $500,000-700,000) it is a key work by the artist and was most likely painted during his second trip to Constantinople from 1867-1869 and coincided with the Sultan’s commissions. Pasini’s oriental market scene captures the experience of a curious traveler entering a foreign place through great sensitivity to color, the play between shadow and the sun, and his almost photographic representation of architecture and figures.

Also of note is A Caravan outside of a Mosque (estimate: $300,000-500,000) by Ferencz Franz Eisenhut, perhaps the most celebrated son of Hungary. Eisenhut’s representation of a hot and busy North African scene clearly demonstrates that the artist was intimately familiar with life in this part of the world, and he takes great care to capture the faces and costumes of the figures. The viewer can feel the heat of the sun and the cool shadows, hear the braying of the goats, the treading of the camels, the voices of the travelers and the single shot of a rifle.

The Orientalist sale will also include Scène prise au Maroc by Frederick Arthur Bridgman (estimate: $250,000-350,000); View of Cairo, the Citadel with the Mamluk Tombs in the Foreground by Hubert Sattler (estimate: $30,000-40,000); and A Pride of Lions on the Prowl by Wilhelm Kuhnert, considered on the of the greatest wildlife painters in art history (estimate: $250,000-350,000).

19th Century European Art
Chief among the highlights is The Japanese Scroll by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000). The Japanese Scroll is not only exquisite in its detail and brilliant palette, but is in pristine condition. Rarely does a panel of this size survive in such excellent state, and its condition, combined with the complex composition depicting the interior of the artist's home in St. John's Wood, will generate considerable excitement in the marketplace. This masterpiece is the only known painting from Tissot’s London period that focuses on his interest in Japanese objects.

Exquisitely drawn and beautifully colored are Une dryade and La perle by William Adolphe Bourguereau (estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000 estimate $1,200,000-1,800,000). Painted towards the end of his career, Une dryade is a work of homage to feminine grace and the play of light over female flesh. This nude, painted in Bourgureau’s Paris studio, is executed in a complex pose. The play of light and shadow on her flesh and hair is a true testament to his excellence of form and technique from the master of the Academic tradition. La perle is a masterful representation of the theme of women in water, which resonates throughout history, beginning with Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. The painting depicts the beautiful embodiment of womanhood with a nude kneeling at the center of the enormous oyster shell with one perfect pearl at her feet. White water spills over the edge of the oyster shell, further enhancing the luminosity of the composition.

Other highlights include Russian born Alexei Alexeiewitsch Harlamoff’s Moody Girl (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000). Moody Girl dates from Harlamoff’s mature period and is a departure from his traditional format of a half-length figure of a young girl to the more complex dynamic of a young mother and daughter. Fresh to the market from a Bahamian collector is William Adolphe Bouguereau’s La Petite Esméralda (estimate: $400,000-600,000). The subject is Esmeralda, the beautiful and tragic young gypsy from Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Notre Dame de Paris, painted with a sort of melancholy and sadness that was a slight departure of subject matter for the artist. From Jean-Bapiste-Camille Corot comes Ville d’Avray- Le Cavalier à la entrée du bois (estimate: $600,000-800,000). Executed in a cool tonality of grays, greens, browns and white, Corot captures the essence of a late afternoon on the edge of a forest. The sale will also include The Happy Family by Dutch painter Bernardus Blommer (estimate: $80,000-120,000). Painted at the height of his career, the family is beautifully balanced in color and tone, and depicts a young family on an evening at the beach in Scheveningen.

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