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Orientalist school of the early 20th century – “The Slave Seller” – Oil on canvas – 61 x 51 cm


Orientalist school from the beginning of the 20th century
“The Seller of Slaves”
Oil on canvas
Signed lower left “Sarkozy Gyulané”
Molded and gilded wooden frame
61 x 51 cm

Titre Orientalist school of the early 20th century – “The Slave Seller” – Oil on canvas – 61 x 51 cm

Orientalist school from the beginning of the 20th century
“The Seller of Slaves”
Oil on canvas
Signed lower left “Sarkozy Gyulané”
Molded and gilded wooden frame
61 x 51 cm

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Category: Product ID: 7204


The Orient: Cradle of the world & Crossroads of civilizations

Bewitching like its music, mysterious like its women, subtle like its perfumes, and magical like its opiums, the Orient aroused all curiosities and desires from the 18th century. At a time when steam navigation and the railroad encouraged to travel, the first traveling artists were fascinated by the Orient, in search of its soul much more than its riches.

The painters, in search of renewal, return imbued with spells and colors, loaded with carpets, costumes, jewelry, and objects of all kinds with which they decorate their workshops, in order to relive their splendor of travel and draw their inspiration from it.

If Western artists are enthusiastic about the Eastern world, they venture into Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and North Africa, before heading to Arabia, Persia, and India, for the more adventurous. As for the countries of the Far East, they were closed to Westerners until the end of the 19th century.

Throughout the last century, Orientalism has been acclaimed, booed, and then neglected by critics and the public – considered an outdated artistic movement. Il has resurfaced in the consciousness of historians and art professionals over the past decades. Paintings are appearing in auction rooms and galleries, coming out of museum reserves and exhibitions are once again organized.

From being restored to the general honor, due to esteem for taste and the sublime, Orientalism is back in favor of the artistic scene. A natural return to a fair appreciation of paintings which are wonderful invitations, because they show and suggest new horizons, sometimes from another time


Orientalist School of the 20th century

The growing success of Orientalism encouraged many painters to stay longer in these distant countries. Cairo is inhabited by many Western painters, who set up their workshops, as are Alexandria, Constantinople and Algiers.

For all these artists, the Orient is synonymous with a new inspiration, a rejuvenation of painting, and a renewal in art. However, Orientalism is not just a way of painting or a school; it continues to evolve over the centuries. Neoclassical in its early years, sometimes romantic, it becomes more and more realistic. Orientalism touches all pictorial currents and almost all artists, without constituting in itself a movement, a school, or a current.

The link between orientalist works is in iconography and style. Orientalists work in an academic style – where “well-drawn” and “well-painted” reign – even if romantic artists see it as an escape from classical institutions. The common point of these works is their subject and especially the light which plays a considerable role in these paintings. Alternating dark impasto and delicate watercolor washes, the artists draw or paint on the ground, like Delacroix in his albums from Morocco. Some take up their sketches once in their studio, or when they return to France, transforming them into recomposed paintings. Thus, Delacroix and Decamps will work according to their travel diaries, sometimes more than thirty years after having left both Morocco and Turkey.


The artwork & its subject

Driven by a certain taste for the picturesque, the artist delivers a canvas that reveals his understanding of the Orient. The technique, the treatment of light and color are part of the painter’s experience, his discoveries and of its vibrations. Chis desire to portray rather than paint testifies to an untiring curiosity for the Other, inherited from the Age of Enlightenment. The artist favors realism when painting thetraditional merchant costume in the details and the nudity of the slave with care. This descriptive orientalism – much appreciated by the Parisian salons of the time – shows the “distant” customs. eastern cities.

Eastern cities The staging of the sale of slaves is a theme often addressed in Orientalist painting. Jean-Léon Gérôme and the Italian painter Fabio Fabbi represent this picturesque scene in several of their works. Colorful, flooded with light, these canvases swear with the grayness of western cities. They (Women) charm and fascinate us with the stories they tell – between myths and mysteries.


See image source

The slave merchant

in the left :

Jean-Léon GEROME
Purchase of a slave, 1857
40,6 x 28,6 cm
Private Collection

in the right :

Slave market
Oil on canvas
209,6 x 99,4 cm
Christie’s Images, Londres

Additional information



61 cm x 51 cm


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