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Orientalism back?
ARTinvestment.RU   26 января 2011

Pictures on the "east" theme: Trade and Market

Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Finding of Moses. Source: artinfo.com

Among the interesting museum and market trends of recent years - a return of interest in the painting "Oriental" theme. The most vivid example - auctioned painting half-forgotten Victorian painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Lawrence Alma-Tadema) « Finding of Moses "for 35.9 million dollars . In Brussels, the recently concluded exhibition "Orientalism in Europe: From Delacroix to Kandinsky's" - the largest show of its kind of works since 1984. And in Paris' Orsay Museum shows a picture of the academician Jean-Leon Gerome (Jean-Léon Gérôme), depicting a lot of "exotic" way of life for Europeans the Turks and Egyptians. On why reappeared, this trend reflects the British newspaper The Art Newspaper.

First, let's remember why the last few decades Orientalist painting was seen as something in the words of the English curator Nicholas Tromansa (Nicholas Tromans), «ethically wrong." In 2008, Tromans arranged at the Tate Gallery exhibition of British paintings, entitled "The attraction of the East", the event coincided with the 30 th anniversary release of key works, critical and traditional European concepts of eastern culture - books of Edward Said (Edward Said) «Orientalism." According to Said, this view has been one of the manifestations of imperialism.

«I think that attempts to apply the ideas of Sayyid to the analysis of paintings were not very successful - says Tromans. -" Orientalism "in saidovskom meaning of this word is our unwillingness to recognize that people in the East can look at the world "correctly", that their views are natural: according to Western thought, our perception of reality objectively, and they see everything through the prism of religion and conservative culture. But philosophically speaking, we can hardly claim that some visual culture more "natural" than another - they just have different ».

The cover of the American edition of the book is decorated with reproductions of Said the work of Jerome "charmer"; the author's opinion, the picture shows no real manners and customs of the East, and Western stereotypes. Due to the abundance of detail the artist has long been regarded as realistic, in fact, they respond more to the then European myths sensual and brutal Arab world.

Another issue - the unpopularity of academic painting of the XIX century, which is usually considered too "sterile", pompous and generally uninteresting. Can we say that the new trend is dictated by the desire for re-evaluation of this art? Or is it just a reflection of the realities of the art market, where more and more visible role becomes wealthy buyers from the Middle East?

«I have long believed that the painting of the XIX century is ignored completely unfairly - says the curator of the Brussels Exhibition Roger Dideran (Roger Diederen). - Since that time there were many very high quality work. Orientalism attracted artists of all countries, all directions - it's such a rich topic. Their works address the enormous number of problems - social, religious, political, which in our time are extremely acute, and therefore exhibit on Orientalism can not be considered irrelevant ».

And that's what Pope says Edouard (Edouard Papet), one of the organizers of the exhibition at Orsay: "We're not going to rehabilitate or Jerome, or painting of the XIX century. Yes, he is an academician - although the works created after 1850, this stream not carry. We want to show how he was the creator of stunning images, which was his contemporary paintings. Pope stresses the impact of its "illusion of truth" has to Hollywood - worth only recall the famous movie by Ridley Scott (Ridley Scott) «Gladiator. It is known that the director showed the fine art of Jerome "Dobey it!" Depicting a defeated gladiator and demanding his death spectators. According to Scott, that's when this story caught him.

market art painting of the XIX century became one of the few segments that are not affected by the art-boom 2000's. Index of European art of the XIX Century Art Market Report was in September 2008, 10,099 points (baseline 1014, starting point - 1976). The tenfold increase - relatively modest in comparison with European Impressionists (in October 2008, their index was 26,651 points for the same basic level). It is worth noting that the Orientalists do better: their index in 2007, jumped and reached in October 2010, the peak of 52,524 points (baseline - 920).

«The success of Orientalism almost entirely dependent on the activity of buyers from the Middle East "- the director of London gallery Fine Art Society. In his essay about the market Orientalists Nicholas Tromans wrote: "The British imperialists left the Persian Gulf region in 1971, but in their place immediately came to the British art dealers. Thanks to a massive rise in oil prices since 1973 in the Gulf appeared substantial demand for Orientalist painting. And the market is controlled from London ».

In 1980 work on the" east "theme sold very briskly, and in 1990 the market fell silent. Sometimes auction houses hold special thematic auction dedicated to this kind of art. "The market [Orientalist] has always been volatile - a specialist auction house, says Elman, Etienne (Etienne Hellman). - Risk is high enough." "But at the moment is the most dynamic segment of the market of painting of the XIX century, - the head picture Mathaf Brian McDermott (Brian MacDermot). - Fabrics in Eastern theme are selling well, but buyers have become more choosy - they are sensibly priced».

Among the famous customers - a cousin of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hassan Al Thani (Hassan Al-Thani), whose collection is stored in the Museum of Orientalism in Doha (which, however, now closed). Some of the exhibits can be seen on the recently dedicated to the Ottoman Empire exhibition at the local Museum of Islamic Art.

In recent years, is also very noticeable presence in the market of buyers from Turkey and Lebanon. In May 2008, painting by Osman Hamdi Bey (Osman Hamdi Bey) «Lady of Constantinople" brought at Sotheby's over three million pounds. Etienne Elman also notes that the Orientalist paintings are always in demand by Americans.

Below is a list of activities that might interest fans of this trend in art.


Orientalism in Europe: From Delacroix to Kandinsky. Exhibition Hall of the Cultural Foundation Hypo, Munich, 28 January - 1 May; Centre de la Vieille Charité, Marseille, 27 May - 28 August.

Colors East: Art and life in the Ottoman Empire. Villa Empain, Brussels, until 27 February.

East through the eyes of Christian Lacroix. Museum Quai Branly, Paris, February 8 - May 15.

Genius of the East. Museum of Fine Arts, Lyon, April 2 - 4 July.

East in Italian paintings of the XIX century. Pinacoteca de Nittis, Barletta, Italy, 4 May - 5 June.

East: From Delacroix to Matisse. Museum Chapel of the Annunciation, St Tropez, July 1 - October 30.

Unknown East Russia: oriental paintings 1850-1920 period. Museum of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands, until May 8.


Paintings, drawings and watercolors of old masters and artists of the XIX century, Christie's, New York, 26 January.

Art Orientalism. Impressions of the Middle East and North Africa. Bonhams, Dubai, April 13.

Section Orientalism, auction paintings of the XIX century, Sotheby's, London, May 18.

material was prepared by Julia Maksimova, AI

Sources: theartnewspaper.com , artinvestment.ru

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