On May 18th, Artcurial
will organise its traditional auction with around 80 lots dedicated to Orientalism. Following the success of the Moroccan Spirit auction in 2014 and African Spirit in 2014, the department wanted to increase the geographical and chronological spectrum of the sale thus offering something new to its French and International collectors. This auction will be made up of three chapters: Orientalism, Africanism and Arabic and Iranian art.
We are thrilled to present a new format of our traditional sale with a chapter on Orientalism showing work from 1860 to 1900, a chapter on Africanism with three works by Anna Quinquaud including an extremely rare piece called, les Jumeaux and finally a chapter focussing on Modern Arabic and Iranian art from a private collection. --Olivier Berman, Associate Director in charge of Artcurials Orientalism departement
This first chapter features Oriental works from 1860 to 1900 by artists such as Alfred Dehodencq, Benjamin-Constant, Théodore Frère, Eugène Girardet, Etienne Dinet, Henri-Emilien Rousseau, Frederick Arthur Bridgman and from the 1900s, Works by Jacques Majorelle, Louis-Auguste Girardot, Edy Legrand and Jellal Ben Abdallah.
The catalogue cover shows a piece called, Porte de la kasbah de Tanger by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (estimation : 100 000 150 000 / 110 000 - 165 000 $), and is a beautiful example of how the artist fusions his imaginary Oriental world with real architectural structures, studied in Morocco. The artist s Orientalism period lasted 7 years and began in 1870 with a 3 year trip around Spain and Morocco. He worked on various subjects from village scenes and Moroccan souks to imaginary harem and imperial characters, Moors or Ottoman Pasha guards. This piece is similar to the famous porte Bab el-Assa from Tangier. With its theatrical motif and ordinary subject, it reminds us of the work Charmeur de serpent by Jean-Léon Gérôme, which was painted at the same time.
Realistic and beaming with light, the oil painting on panel Jeunes Lavandières by Etienne Dinet (estimation : 30 000 40 000 / 33 000 44 000 $) illustrates the artists knowledge and passion for Algeria. He spoke Arabic and converted to being a Muslim. He was passionate about local and ancestral traditions and fell in love with colourful landscapes, this can be seen in his work which is filled with beautiful details. He created magnificent portraits of men, women and children in their daily life, just like in this piece.
Jacques Majorelle was probably the most famous of the Orientalist painters. As the local authorities forbade him from going outside of a 15km radius of Marrakech, he developed a series of work focussing on the local life just like the oil on panel Les couvertures noires, Marrakech (estimation : 70 000 90 000 / 77 000 99 000 $). A traditional Moroccan scene where the light of North African sun is discreetly hinted upon, the colours used are quite dark.
The second chapter of the auction is dedicated to Africanism and boasts three important bronze sculptures which are truly exceptional for their rarity, their quality and their size. Highlights include the Buste dafricaine by Léon-Ernest Divier (estimation : 30 000 40 000 / 33 000 44 000 $) and Maternité by Pierre Meauzé (estimation : 30 000 40 000 / 33 000 44 000 $).
Anna Quinquaud was glorified for the second Grand Prix in Rome in 1924 and left the Villa Médicis to move to Africa. From 1925-1926, she explored Senegal, Sudan and Mauritania and after a stint in Paris she set off again to meet the mountain population, Fouta-Djallon in French Guinea. The bronze sculpture, Les jumeaux (estimation : 25 000 35 000 / 27 500 38 500 $), is an extremely rare piece by the artist, who at the time produced public artwork including monumental sculptures for the Dakar cathedral.
Modern Arabic and Iranian Art
The auction will end with the sale of a French collectors modern Arabic and Iranian art, incarnated by the green patina bronze sculpture Au bord du Nil by Mahmoud Moktar (estimation : 30 000 40 000 / 33 000 44 000 $.) Other highlights of the collection include works by Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Abdallah Benanteur and Mahieddine Baya.
Like no one else, Mahmoud Mokhtar was able to express the emerging movement to free women in Egypt in the first decades of the 20th century. The elegance of the water bearer with a hint of Parisian Art Deco and Ancient Egypt grandeur, are typical of his style.
The artist moved to Cairo in 1902 and signed up to the Beaux-Arts school six years later and then transferred to the Beaux-arts in Paris. This figure symbolises the union between the old and new Egypt and the marble version of the sculpture is still in Cairo.