Thursday, September 16, 2010

THE FATHER OF THE CASSEROLE



Images of the life, history and topography of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and sometimes modern Greece, the Crimea, Albania and the Sudan constitute the field of Orientalism. Although almost any biblical subject in Western art would rank as an Orientalist image by this definition, most such works dating before the 19th century fail to present any specifically Near Eastern details or atmosphere and are not Orientalist. Artists need not have journeyed to the Near East to be labelled Orientalist, but their works must have some suggestion of topographic or ethnographic accuracy.
(Grove Art excerpts - Electronic ©2003, Oxford Art Online)
Gustav Bauernfeind (b 1848; d 1904) was born in the town of Sulz-am-Neckar in Baden-Württemberg, southern Germany. His education gave no indication that he would become one of the most accomplished artists of his era. He had graduated from the Stuttgart Polytechnic Institute and joined an architectural firm. After an initial start at the office of Professor Wilhelm Baumer, he was employed by Adolf Gnauth who was not only an architect, but also a moderately gifted painter. It was during his time in the employment of Gnauth that Bauernfeind transformed from architect to artist. When traveling to Italy for a project for Gnauth's firm in 1873 and 1874, Bauernfeind refined his artistic skills, executing with meticulous verisimilitude the architecture and nature of his surroundings. Although his attention to detail was remarkable, his work found few interested buyers due to the rather mundane subject matter. He was advised to find a subject matter more 'en vogue' and, very much aware of the financial opportunities awaiting a painter of Orientalist subjects, he looked to the East as his new source of inspiration. This marked a turning point in his career: a fundamentally different and exotic culture in which to study the sun, the light, the characters, customs and religious attitudes.
(Christie’s catalogue of 19th Century European Art including Orientalist and Spanish Art, July 2, 2008, Lot 28)
Gnauth helped Bauernfeind pursue painting, finding him a commission to paint Italian scenes for the German art publisher, Johann Christian Englehorn. Gustav painted the Italian views from 1873 to 1874.
He returned to Stuttgart in 1874 and later moved to Munich in 1876. In Munich, Bauernfeind furthered his abilities as a painter. He developed friendships with other German artists such as Heinrich Von Zügel and Ludwig Löfftz.
(Armand Cabrera at artandinfluence.blogspot.com)


King David Street - Jerusalem
From History and historical Studies at bishtawi.com


Chioggia'da Kanal
From istanbulsanatevi.com


Pazar Yeri
From alloilpaint.com


Kudüs'te Sokak, 1880
From istanbulsanatevi.com


Çamaşır Günü, 1880
From istanbulsanatevi.com


Entrance to the Temple Mount, Jerusalem
Oil on canvas1886
Source arabiaexotica.com
From commons.wikimedia.org


Gate of the Great Mosque, Damascus
Oil on panel, 1890
Painted in Munich
From commons.wikimedia.org


This monumental painting (above) is arguably the most sensational work depicting Damascus by the German Orientalist artist Gustav Bauernfeind. The detailed execution and the vibrant use of colour truly capture the allure of the East. Bauernfeind made three trips to the Orient during his lifetimebefore eventually settling there permanently. For his first trip in1880 he made enquiries through his sister and brother-in-law who were living in Beirut at the time. Before his voyage, they sent him a letter describing the area: 'Everything which is in our power to do to make the Orient pleasant and interesting shall be done. Of course, I must tell you beforehand, you will find Syria to be no Italy. No such abundance of architectural art treasures are to be expected here; all the same, I should think that in spite of this, an artist could find a worthwhile field for his studies here, and would not regret his journey. Beirut perhaps has the least to offer - in very great contrast to the highlands, which do not lack for ruined stately homes and castles. Damascus, too, is at all events interesting; I haven't been there yet, but from what I've heard tell it is a city whose Oriental character is still the least diluted by European civilization' (quoted in A. Carmel and H. Schmid, op. cit. ,p.91). Although the unspoiled Eastern character of Damascus as described by his sister appealed highly to him, Bauernfeind would only properly discover the city during his second visit to the region in1884. He describes it in a letter to his mother as 'a city which has hardly been touched by civilization'. After his initial two trips Bauernfeind left Germany for a third time to travel to the Middle East in 1888. His third visit to the region would turn out not only to be his longest but also his most extensively documented. Bauernfeind travelled to Jaffa where he had met his wife on his second trip four years earlier. In Jaffa he boarded an Egyptian steamer Fayiem which took him to Beirut from where he travelled inland to Damascus. The city of Damascus was renowned for its silks and dried fruit. It is known to be one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. In its turbulent history it had been conquered numerous times. From the Assyrians to Alexander the Great and from Egyptians to the British, all had made their contribution to its rich history. Once it was even part of the Ottoman Empire and during that time it was considered to be one of the leading centres after Constantinople, Cairo and Jerusalem. With its vast breadth of history comes an infinitely complex and rich cultural heritage. Bauernfeind was truly enthralled by the city, its streets, its people and its buildings. He travelled the streets and, weather permitting, painted and sketched every day. He became a well known figure in the city. He wrote: 'I am almost known everywhere in the city (Damascus) as the M'Sauer (painter), a triumph that does credit to my activity. It is an absolute delight to see how inquisitively these folk follow the doings of Europeans, and what hilarious comments they often make regarding the subject. My travelling hat has elicited a number of these. Some are quite amazed that I should have a parasol on my Tarboosh (the red hat they wear); others called me the Father of the Casserole (Abu Aanshereh) because my hat looked like I'd clapped a pot on my head...' (Op. cit., p.98). Whilst sketching on December 2nd 1888 in the cotton bazaar or Sükel cotton he had to flee from the incessant curiosity of the local populace and climbed the rooftops in order to sketch the minaret of the Galciye Mosque in peace. The elevated location did not provide him with the desired perspective and although weary of the crowd he decided to climb down. When taking a pause from his work he decided to visit the Umayyad Mosque for the first time. Its monumental architecture made an enormous impression on him and he writes in his journal: 'Have discovered a thankful subject: The entrance to the Great Mosque. It will be difficult to paint it. I fit is possible, I hope to create a beautiful painting. (G.Bauernfeind, Die Reise nach Damascus, p. 14) The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque, is believed to be the building site of an Armean Temple to the God of Hadad dating back to 3000 B.C.. Built in the 1st Century AD and again renovated under Septimus Severus during 193-211 A.D., the site housed a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter. Arcadius of the Byzantine Empirere stored and converted the Roman temple into a Christian Church naming it the Church of St. John (395-408 A.D.) as it held a casket with the head of John the Baptist on display. Following the Arab conquest of the city Welid, son of Abd el-Melik and the sixth Ummayad Khalif, entered negotiations with the Christians residing in the city about the purchase of their rights over the location. 'The Christians however declined to part with their Church, and it was then taken from them, either without compensation or according to a more probable account, in return for the guaranteed possession of several other churches in and around Damascus, which had not hitherto been expressly secured to them. The Khalif himself is said to have directed the first blow to the altar, as a signal for its destruction, to the great grief of the Christians. He then proceeded, without entirely demolishing the old walls, to erect a magnificent mosque on the site of the church. This building is extravagantly praised by Arabic authors, genii are said to have aided its construction, and 1,200 artists to have been summoned from Constantinople to assist. ... Antique columns were collected in the towns of Syria and used in the decoration of the mosque. The pavement and the lower walls were covered with the rarest marbles, while the upper parts of the walls and the dome were enriched with mosaics. The prayer niches were inlaid with precious stones and golden vines were entwined over the arches of the niches. The ceiling was of wood inlaid with gold, and from it hung 600 golden lamps. Prodigious sums are said to have been expended on the work.... Omar ibn Abd el-Aziz (717-720 A.D.) caused the golden lamps to be replaced by others of less value. In 1609 part of the mosque was burned down and since the conquest of Damascus by Timurlane the building has never been restored to its ancient magnificence.' (K.Baedeker, Palestine and Syria: handbook for travellers, Leipzig,1876, p. 482). Bauernfeind was clearly captivated by the Great Mosque. In the present lot all the inspiration that this extraordinary and historical place of worship offered comes to a crescendo. With his minute attention to detail he uses his paint to form a composition of near tangible reality. The architectural beauty offered the artist the ideal backdrop, challenging his skills of exactitude to the fullest. After first catching sight of the mosque on the 2nd of December 1888 he visited it nearly every day, investing large amounts of effort, and money, in acquiring sufficient material for the painting he envisioned. Money was needed not only to bribe the mosque's wardens for informal permission to sketch there but also to pay the models he found in the streets. The drawings of models would later serve as the basis for the figures so elaborately depicted in the present lot. Bauernfeind's relentless quest for material, in combination with his unsurpassed talent, has given form to a work of true quality. His masterful use of color and light, his richly attired figures and his exceptional understanding of the architecture are all irrefutably present in The Gate of the Great Omayaden Mosque,Damascus and make it without doubt one of the most monumental and sensational creations in the artist's oeuvre.
(arcadja.com)


Şam'da Büyük Caminin Kapısında, 1891
From istanbulsanatevi.com


Oryantal Sokak Teması
From istanbulsanatevi.com


Ölü Deniz ve Moabiter Dağları
Totes Meer Mit Moabitergebirge Abendstimmung
From istanbulsanatevi.com


Jericho Düzlüğü
Ebene Von Jericho Mit Quarantal
From istanbulsanatevi.com


David Street in Jerusalem
From oilpaintingsgallery.com


Mountains of Moab Seen from Bethany
From oilpaintingsgallery.com


Bauernfeind is most remembered for his accurate portrayals of the Mideast. He traveled there four times. (1880-1881), (1884-1887), (1888-1889), (1896-1904). Bauernfeind worked in watercolors and oils outdoors. Many of these sketches were the basis for larger studio works. He believed in thoroughly immersing himself in his painting motifs---in some cases, painting Orientalist outdoor scenes at great risk to his life. He carried a gun and would hire local bodyguards to help protect him. Being a foreigner, Bauernfeind was often spat upon or had objects thrown at him while painting. Sometimes he was threatened by crowds and would be forced to leave the area.
Gustav Bauernfeind died in Jerusalem on Christmas Eve, 1904 from heart failure while decorating the Christmas tree.
(Armand Cabrera at artandinfluence.blogspot.com)


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