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Christie's to Present an Important Auction of Orientalist Masterpieces
Rudolph Ernst (American, 1854-1932), Taking tea in the Harem, signed 'R. Ernst' (lower right), oil on panel, 28½ x 36 3/8 in. (72.4 x 92.4 cm.). Estimate: £500,000 - 650,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010.

LONDON.- Christie’s announced the auction of Orientalist Art which will take place on 15 June 2010, and which follows the success of the auction in November 2009 which realised £10.6 million, selling 2 works for over £1 million.

The auction will offer a selection of 54 works led by Bondage, an epic masterpiece by Ernest Normand (British, 1857-1923) which measures 184 x 307 cm and which will be offered in its original, purpose-built frame (estimate: £2 million to £3 million). Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1895 and more recently at Tate Britain's Exposed exhibition in 2001, it is being offered at auction from the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro. The Museum is facing a funding shortfall and has recently decided to offer the works for sale after a comprehensive consultation process. They will use proceeds of the sale to establish an endowment fund that will safeguard its long-term future.

Etienne Hellman, International Director for Orientalist Art at Christie's and Alexandra McMorrow, Director and Head of Orientalist Art at Christie's London: “The market for Orientalist Art has shown significant growth over the last few years as global interest in this field continues to grow, with more and more collectors from the Middle East in particular engaging in this category. In June we will offer a strong selection of works led by Ernest Normand’s ‘Bondage’, an extremely important masterpiece by the artist, whose work rarely appears at auction. Offered in its original frame, carved and decorated with Egyptian motifs, it is one of the most exceptional works of Orientalist art to be offered at auction in recent years.”

Further highlights of the auction:

• L’écrivain public by Etienne Alphonse Dinet (1861-1929) shows a public scribe and a woman dressed in exotic robes and jewels and is expected to realise £650,000 to £750,000.

• Taking tea in the Harem by Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932) is arguably the masterpiece of one of the most sought after Orientalist artists of the 19th century. Offered at auction having been in the same collection since 1988, it is expected to realise £500,000 to £650,000.

• The camel transport, Morocco by Edwin Lord Weeks (1849-1903), who along with Frederick Arthur Bridgman was the most important American Orientalist artist, is a masterpiece from his Moroccan period and is expected to realise £500,000 to £700,000.

• A North African courtyard by Frederick Arthur Bridgman (1847-1928) is offered at auction for the first time from a private European collection, and is expected to realise £350,000 to £550,000.

• The gate keepers by Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932) depicts a figure draped in rich silk embroidered robes, a tamed tiger at his side, and is expected to realise £200,000 to £300,000

Christie's | Orientalist Masterpieces | Etienne Hellman | Alexandra McMorrow |

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