Friday, July 2, 2010

ORIENTALIST ARTIST




The Return from the Tiger Hunt
Oil on panel, 1896
Private collection
From ARC


Rudolph Ernst (1854 - 1932) is today one of the most celebrated and sought-after Orientalist artists of the 19th Century. Born in Vienna in 1854, the son of the architectural painter Leopold Ernst, the young Rudolf received his early artistic training at the Vienna Academy. Ernst traveled extensively through Italy, Morocco, Spain and Tunis before settling in Paris and taking French citizenship. He continued to travel throughout the 1890s visiting Turkey and Egypt. While on his travels, the artist bought artifacts and textiles, which he brought back to France and used to enhance the authenticity of his paintings.
Heavily influenced by the academic style of Jean-Léon Gérôme, both Ludwig Deutsch and Rudolf Ernst concentrated on exactitude in detail and intensity of color. The Return from the Tiger Hunt (above) is a tour-de-force of Ernst's Orientalist oeuvre, where the artist strives for photographic exactitude and academic precision while enhancing the composition with his signature verisimilitude in vibrant and elegant color combinations. The colorful costumes of the hunters, executed in jewel-tones of green, blue, red, and gold are set off magnificently by the earth tones of the background. The punctuation of these bold and exquisitely rendered costumes enhances the tension of the figures, each of whom holds the chains which bind their captured tiger. The narrative is enhanced by the doleful expression of the tiger's mate, snarling at the passing hunters.
This was clearly one of the artist's favorite compositions, as at least two other versions are known, albeit with slight variations. The present work is by far the most dramatic of them, with the inclusion of the tiger's mate and the ominous dark rocks in the background.
(CHRISTIE’S)


The Perfume Maker
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


The Perfume Maker (above), depicting two young maidens involved in handling and sorting rose petals and buds, features a fascinating exploration between the interior and exterior, the realms of public and private spaces, and work and pleasure. Through Ernst's brushstroke, the task of making perfume becomes the pretext for a sumptuous chromatic feast, in which the intense pink of the rose buds contrasts with the turquoise of the simple jars where the flowers are pressed into essences.
Most of the objects Ernst includes in his paintings are from his own personal collection. Similarly to Jean-Léon Gérôme and Ludwig Deutsch, with whom he was close friends, Ernst had gathered a sizeable group of artefacts from the Middle East, including ceramic tiles, lamps, pottery, silk, satins and kaftans, from his travels to Moorish Spain, Morocco, Tunis and Istanbul during the 1880s.
The Perfume Maker reveals Ernst's fascination with light and surface texture, which these objects allowed him to explore. The shading of the figure on the right, shown à contre jour, is particularly sophisticated, and contrasts strongly with the white dress of her companion, illuminated by the light pooling on the tiled floor. Ernst has purposefully juxtaposed as many objects with different textures as possible: jute and wool rugs; metal and ceramic; earthenware and glazed tiles; fabric and petals. The overall effect is to create a quiet, exotic still life.
Ernst produced several different versions of this subject, but in the quality of its detailing and impressive size, The Perfume Maker is by far the finest.
(CHRISTIE’S)


A Tambourine, Knife, Moroccan Tile
& Plate on Satin covered Table
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


The Moorish Guard
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


A Moorish Interior
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


Standing Guard
Oil on cradled panel
Private collection
From ARC


The Hammam
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


Le Marchand De Fleurs
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


In The Alhambra
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


Evening Prayer
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


Elegant Arab Ladies on a Terrace at Sunset
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


The Terrace
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


Young ladies on a terrace in Tangiers
From Wikimedia


In Young ladies on a terrace in Tangiers (above), two beautiful women in fine traditional costumes are engaged in leisurely activities on a languid sunny afternoon. Fine tunics, jewellery, headscarves and shoes were the essential elements in the wardrobe of a lady and the various musical props, the narghile water pipe, enhance the impression of leisurely Eastern lifestyle that would have fascinated the spectator of the Parisian Salons where Ernst had exhibited his works since 1877.
(CHRISTIE’S)
Along with his compatriot Ludwig Deutsch, Ernst had a significant impact as a representative of the second generation of Orientalist painters. The first generation such as Horace Vernet, Alexandre Colin and Eugène Delacroix, were inspired by political events, whereas the second generation such as Jean-Léon Gérôme, Gustav Bauernfeind, Ludwig Deutsch and Ernst were more interested in depicting scenes of daily life in the Middle East. Ernst's first taste of the East was sparked by journeys to Moorish Spain, Morocco and Tunis in the second half of the 1880s, followed by a visit to Istanbul and Egypt around 1890. Whilst on these travels he became very interested in the eastern styles of decoration, in particular tile-making, and by 1900 he left Paris to live in Fontenay-aux-Roses, where he decorated his home in an Ottoman style and lived among the oriental objects which figured so prominently in his paintings. Indeed, upon his return from Istanbul he asked the famous ceramicist Léon Fargue to initiate him to this art and Ernst became as well known at the turn of the century for his decorative 'Orientalist' tiles as for his paintings. It is no doubt for this reason that we find such exquisite attention paid to the tile decoration in all of Ernst's paintings including the beautiful glazed blue Iznik-style tiles in Young ladies on a terrace in Tangiers. Typical of Ernst, he would use these same tiles in other composition such as The manicure.....
Ernst's gift was his capability to combine artefacts, textiles, colours, tiles and architectural elements of the East freely. However, Young ladies on a terrace in Tangiers is quite unique in that the geographic setting is more precise than usual. Not only are such large panoramic scenes rare in the artist's oeuvre, but the background looks very clearly inspired by the city of Tangiers in Morocco. There are similarities to La terrasse which also alludes to a Moroccan geographic setting very like that of Tangiers. The same minaret appears in both paintings and is quite close in style to that of the mosque of the Aissaouas in the old city of Tangiers.
(CHRISTIE’S)

A Short Biography of Rudolf Ernst:
1854: Born in Vienna, the son of the architectural painter Leopold Ernst.
1869: Joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna at the age of 15
1874: Traveled to Rome to study the representation of Italian landscapes and classical romantic figures prior to 1885, painting mainly portraits, images of children and genre scenes.
1885: Started to create Orientalist Paintings, paintings for which achieved great fame as an artist.
1885: Traveled through the Middle East, visiting Morocco, Spain and Turkey.
(hoocher.com)



2 comments:

Alfonso Fuentes said...

Do please find at www.antoniofuentes.org works by Antonio Fuentes ( Tangiers, 1905 - 1995 )the only great artist born and dead in town, and whose works depict the city itself.

rompedas said...

Dear Alfonso,
Thank you for your input.