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Orientalist masters at Sotheby's spring auction of 19th Century European Art in New York
Frederick Arthur Bridgman, The Diversion of an Assyrian King. Oil on canvas. Est. $400/600,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s spring auction of 19th Century European Art in New York on 9 May 2013 will feature an exceptional collection of Orientalist paintings. The group is highlighted by four major works by the master of the genre, Jean-Léon Gérôme, including Le Tigre et le Gardien (est. $300/400,000), as well as The Colossus of Memnon (est. $400/600,000). While he painted the Colossus a number of times and from different viewpoints throughout his career, this early work was devised on his first ambitious and long anticipated visit to Egypt in 1856. Also included in the sale is Une Journée Chaude au Caire (Devant la Mosquée) (est. $150/250,000) and a rare sculpture by Gérôme, Corinthe, a gilt bronze model, cast by the renowned Parisian foundry Siot (est. $50/70,000).

American artist Frederick Arthur Bridgman, known for painting imagery from North Africa and the Middle East, is well represented in the sale with two works, including the magnificent The Diversion of an Assyrian King (est. $400/600,000). A pupil of Gérôme, Bridgman made his name winning a medal at the 1877 Salon and a place at the Paris Exposition Universelle with Les Funerailles d’une momie. The current work was the second of three highly acclaimed historical reconstructions that Bridgman painted in three consecutive years. The light palette and rigorous brushwork in certain passages of the picture – trademarks of his maturing style – were widely commented upon, perhaps due to the uncommonness of these formal elements in academic history painting. Also included in the sale by Bridgman is An Egyptian Procession (est. $200/300,000).

Consigned by a private California collector is Horses at the Ford – Persia by Edwin Lord Weeks who, like Frederick Arthur Bridgman, is among the most important American Orientalist painters of the late 19th century (est. $250/350,000). This large, expansive composition shows the artist’s own caravan crossing a stream in the vast Persian desert somewhere between Tabreez and Teheran in the fall of 1892. The finished work was painted in the artist’s studio around 1894-5, shortly after his return to Paris.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium and prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

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