Sunday, November 30, 2014

Odalisque by Édouard Manet 1832–1883


Édouard Manet (French artist, 1832–1883) Odalisque

Odalisque comes from a Turkish suffix expressing a function, sort of as English "er" or "ary" might when added to a noun. And oda is a room, here a chamber in a harem.  The odalisque traditionally refers to the female slave or servant in the harem of a Turkish sultan. The term was adopted during the 19C by academic Europe as a form of artistic eroticism in orientalism.  In an interesting twist, Turkish writer Melek Hanum (Hanim) [1814-1873] used the word odalisque referring to a slave in her autobiography Thirty Years in a Harem, as she wrote: "If any lady possesses a pretty-looking slave, the fact soon gets known. The gentlemen who wish to buy an odalisque for a wife, make their offers. Many Turks, indeed, prefer to take a slave as a wife, as, in such case, there is no need to dread fathers, mothers, or brothers-in-law, and other undesirable relations."  So much for troublesome in-laws.

Orientalism is a term used by art, literary, & cultural studies scholars for the depiction of aspects of Middle Eastern & Eastern cultures by writers & artists from Western cultures. Orientalist painting, depicting mostly "the Middle East" was one of the many areas of 19C art.



Thought you might like to read the 1872 Harper's review of Melek Hanum's autobiography.

Henry Mills Alden 1872
Harper's New Monthly Magazine Volume 45

Editor's Literary Record
Thirty Years in a Harem (Harper and Brothers) is a very remarkable book. It purports to be the autobiography of Melek Hanum, wife of H. H. Kibrizli Mehemet Pasha. The imprint of the publishers is a sufficient guarantee that the book is what it purports to be, though the cautious reader will probably very soon recognize the fact that the authoress has an ambition to make a sensation, and accordingly will receive her story with some caution. Those who know the stainless character of her first husband, Dr. Millingen, whom she so violently and unjustly asperses, will look with reasonable suspicion on her nspersion of others who are less well and widely known in Christendom. She does not, indeed, conceal the fact that she is a totally unscrupulous woman; prides herself on her political intrigues; writes with a curiously simple naiveté of the contrivances to which she resorted to secure bribes during her Turkish husband's administration of government in the Holy Land; and even in recording her attempt to palm off upon him another child as her own appears to be far more impressed with a sense of her folly than with any shame at her guilt. The history of such a woman, written with a scarcely concealed purpose to secure from the public a condemnation of her foes, is not only liable to all the suspicion which attaches to extravagant statements, but to the special suspicion which attaches to the extravagant statements of a jealous, humiliated, and wholly unscrupulous woman, who by her own showing disregarded the universal sense of Turkish propriety while seeking a refuge from Turkish persecution among the giaours. But with full allowance made for coloring and misrepresentation, it is certain that this volume gives an interesting view of Turkish life, customs, and laws, such as has never been afforded to the Christian world. Plenty of travelers have looked on the outside, and told us what to an observer it appears to be. Melek Hanum carries us into the interior of Turkish life, describes its corruption, its profligacy, its injustice, its violation of right and of chivalry, its flagrant oppression of the weak, its outrageous tyranny over woman. Her second husband was, in various positions, a leading official of the Turkish government, being at times a Grand Vizier; and it is evident that, in spite of the “subjection of women" in the East, they are greater politicians than in the West. At times her story, which is always dramatic, becomes sensational in its episodes; and certainly if it were a novel, not a biography, we should class it among the sensational romances. Yet this sensationalism is not in the style, which is that of a simple and seemingly untutored narrative, but in the incidents themselves. Indeed, those which are most capable of being highly wrought are told with the greatest simplicity. It is not, however, the story which chiefly interests the thoughtful reader, but the portraiture of Turkish civilization which that story embodies. Government at the Sultan’s court and government in the provinces, political intrigue and domestic life, marriage and divorce, Turkish law and Turkish lawlessness, are all revealed by one who knows whereof she speaks; and the disclosure is such as to demonstrate, even after all allowances are made, that the condition of the “ sick man" is even more desperate than it has generally been supposed to be.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres 1814


1814 Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres 1780-1867

While this painting has received its share of criticism for its incorrect or distorted body proportions & for mixing styles, it is the painting most think of as an odalisque.  Odalisque comes from a Turkish suffix expressing a function, sort of as English "er" or "ary" might when added to a noun. And oda is a room, here a chamber in a harem.  The odalisque traditionally refers to the female slave or servant in the harem of a Turkish sultan. The term was adopted during the 19C by academic Europe as a form of artistic eroticism in orientalism.  In an interesting twist, Turkish writer Melek Hanum (Hanim) [1814-1873] used the word odalisque referring to a slave as she wrote: "If any lady possesses a pretty-looking slave, the fact soon gets known. The gentlemen who wish to buy an odalisque for a wife, make their offers. Many Turks, indeed, prefer to take a slave as a wife, as, in such case, there is no need to dread fathers, mothers, or brothers-in-law, and other undesirable relations."  So much for troublesome in-laws.


Orientalism is a term used by art, literary, & cultural studies scholars for the depiction of aspects of Middle Eastern & Eastern cultures by writers & artists from Western cultures. Orientalist painting, depicting mostly "the Middle East" was one of the many areas of 19C art.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The jealous love rival who tried to erase all trace of Monet's muse, his 1st wife Camille


 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Camille Monet Reading 1872

The jealous love rival who tried to erase all trace of Monet's muse, his 1st wife Camille

David Sharrock
The Guardian, The Observer, Saturday 5 March 2011

Camille Doncieux...was model, lover & eventually wife of Claude Monet, whose early paintings of her gave him his 1st taste of commercial & critical success.  But when Camille died young after a long illness following the birth of their 2nd child, the woman who replaced her in Monet's life was determined to obliterate her memory.

Alice, Monet's 2nd wife, was consumed by jealousy of her departed rival & destroyed all photographic records of Camille. Only one photo is known to have survived. Taken in Holland in 1871, it was kept in a private collection about which Alice knew nothing...

Camille was 18 when Monet, 7 years her senior, first met her. Introduced by Frédéric Bazille, with whom he shared a studio, Monet was captivated above all by her eyes & asked her to pose in The Picnic...Renoir & Monet were lifelong friends, often setting up their easels side by side. It was not surprising that Renoir also painted Monet's beautiful consort.

Despairing of finishing The Picnic in time for display at the Salon, Monet instead submitted a full-length portrait of Camille, which drew admiring comparisons with the work of Edouard Manet. The painting sold for 800 francs, an astonishing sum for a young, unknown artist in 1865. A year later Camille gave birth to their son Jean. It wasn't until June 1870, that they married in a civil ceremony in Paris.

Monet's scandalised family, who had withdrawn their support for the struggling artist, boycotted the wedding. Fellow impressionist Gustave Courbet was one of the witnesses. For the rest of their marriage Monet's financial circumstances were precarious, but in 1876 he met the mercurial collector Ernest Hoschedé & his wife Alice, with whom he is presumed to have commenced an affair. Monet painted at their lavish Château de Rottembourg in Montgeron, south-east of Paris. But Ernest lost everything & fled to Belgium to escape his debts. In 1878, Monet invited the impoverished Hoschedés to move in with his family in Vétheuil.

Ernest Hoschedé started working for the newspaper Le Voltaire, spending most of his time in Paris, leaving Alice & the family in Vétheuil. Camille's health deteriorated – the cause has never been fully explained although theories include the after-effects of abortions. In August 1879, Camille was close to death & a priest was called to administer the last rites & sanction her marriage to Monet. She died 5 days later, aged 32.

Monet painted her on her deathbed, overcome by grief. The painting remained in his possession for most of his life. "I caught myself watching her tragic forehead," he wrote to a friend after Camille's death, "almost mechanically observing the sequence of changing colours that death was imposing on her rigid face. Blue, yellow, grey & so on … my reflexes compelled me to take unconscious action in spite of myself."

After Camille's death, rumours began to spread about Monet's relationship with Alice. Ernest Hoschedé did not even return to his family that Christmas; & in January 1880, Le Gaulois newspaper announced a mock funeral, reporting the "grievous loss" of Claude Monet who was living in Vétheuil with his "charming wife" – Alice Hoschedé. The article said that Monet supported his former patron, Ernest Hoschedé, who was financially bankrupt & living in the artist's studio in Paris.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Orientalism by Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) & His Algerian Quest



Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Odalisque 1870

Although he painted his most famous Odelisque in 1870, Renoir did not travel to Algeria until 1881, searching for the perfect orientalist model. He was disappointed, writing to a friend, that Algerian women were "unapproachable, I don’t understand their jabber and they are very unreliable...It’s unfortunate as there are some pretty ones, but they do not want to pose.” Instead of trying to learn to communicate with the folks in Algeria & portraying the actual women he saw there in 1881 & 1882, Renoir returned to the comfort of home to paint idealized French women wearing exotic garb.



Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Madame Clementine Stora in Algerian Dress

Orientalism is a term used by art, literary, & cultural studies scholars for the depiction of aspects of Middle Eastern & Eastern cultures by writers & artists from Western cultures. Orientalist painting, depicting mostly "the Middle East" was one of the many areas of 19C art.


Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Algerian Woman 1881




Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Algerian Girl 1881




Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Seated Algerian Woman 1882




Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Algerian Woman 1883




Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) The Harem




Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Dancer




Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Odalisque 1895




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) The Concert




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Gabrielle (1878-1959) in an Oriental Costume with a Rose 




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Mademoiselle Fleury In Algerian Costume




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Gabrielle (1878-1959) in an Oriental Costume with Jewelry




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Young Algerian Girl




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Gabrielle (1878-1959) in an Oriental Costume with open blouse


 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Madame Heriot 1882.


 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Gabrielle (1878-1959) in an Oriental Costume at a Mirror 1910


 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Child with an Orange




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Gabrielle (1878-1959) in an Oriental Costume Seated




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Buste de femme en costume oriental




  Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Gabrielle (1878-1959) in an Oriental Costume




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Dancing Girl with Tambourine 1909




  Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Gabrielle (1878-1959) in an Oriental Costume a sa Coiffure.




  Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Algerian Woman with Child




 Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Gabrielle (1878-1959) in an Oriental Costume




  Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919)  Young Algerian Girl.




Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919) Gabrielle (1878-1959) in an Oriental Costume

For further information see:

André, Albert. Forward. Renoir’s Atelier. San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 1989. xxxv-xxxvii.

Bailey, Colin B. “Renoir and Algeria.” The Burlington Magazine. Sept. 2003: 682-684.

Benjamin, Roger. Renoir and Algeria. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.

Orientalist Aethetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880-1930. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003.

Charbonnier, J.M. “L’Algérie des Peintres : le Sabre & le Pinceau.” Beaux Arts Magazine. Nov. 2003: 68-70.

Guégan, Stéphane. “Images coloniales?” De Delacroix a Renoir: L’Algerie des peintres. Paris: Institut du mondearabe, 2003. 16-19.

House, John. “Renoir’s Worlds.” Renoir. Rugby, Great Britain: Jolly & Barber Limited, 1985. 11-18.

Prochaska, David. “The Other Algeria: Beyond Renoir’s Algiers.” Renoir and Algeria. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. 120-141.

Rivière, Georges. Renoir et Ses Amis. Paris: H. Floury, 1921.

Said, Edward W. Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient. London: Penguin Books, 1995.

Thornton, Lynne. The Orientalists: Painter-Travellers. Paris: ACR PocheCouleur, 1994.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Orientalism - 1938 A male Odalisque with his pipe & pet dog


Pyotr Konchalovsky (Petr Petrovich Konchalovsky, Russian Пётр Петро́вич Кончало́вский) (Russian artist, 1876-1956), Portrait of Vsevolod Meyerhold 1938

Odalisque comes from a Turkish suffix expressing a function, sort of as English "er" or "ary" might when added to a noun. And oda is a room, here a chamber in a harem.  The odalisque traditionally refers to the female slave or servant in the harem of a Turkish sultan. The term was adopted during the 19C by academic Europe as a form of artistic eroticism in orientalism.  In an interesting twist, Turkish writer Melek Hanum (Hanim) [1814-1873] used the word odalisque referring to a slave as she wrote: "If any lady possesses a pretty-looking slave, the fact soon gets known. The gentlemen who wish to buy an odalisque for a wife, make their offers. Many Turks, indeed, prefer to take a slave as a wife, as, in such case, there is no need to dread fathers, mothers, or brothers-in-law, and other undesirable relations."  So much for troublesome in-laws.

Orientalism is a term used by art, literary, & cultural studies scholars for the depiction of aspects of Middle Eastern & Eastern cultures by writers & artists from Western cultures. Orientalist painting, depicting mostly "the Middle East" was one of the many areas of 19C art.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

19C Orientalism - Elegant male Odalisque


Egisto Sarri (Italian artist, 1837-1901) Man on a Divan

Odalisque comes from a Turkish suffix expressing a function, sort of as English "er" or "ary" might when added to a noun. And oda is a room, here a chamber in a harem.  The odalisque traditionally refers to the female slave or servant in the harem of a Turkish sultan. The term was adopted during the 19C by academic Europe as a form of artistic eroticism in orientalism.  In an interesting twist, Turkish writer Melek Hanum (Hanim) [1814-1873] used the word odalisque referring to a slave as she wrote: "If any lady possesses a pretty-looking slave, the fact soon gets known. The gentlemen who wish to buy an odalisque for a wife, make their offers. Many Turks, indeed, prefer to take a slave as a wife, as, in such case, there is no need to dread fathers, mothers, or brothers-in-law, and other undesirable relations."  So much for troublesome in-laws.

Orientalism is a term used by art, literary, & cultural studies scholars for the depiction of aspects of Middle Eastern & Eastern cultures by writers & artists from Western cultures. Orientalist painting, depicting mostly "the Middle East" was one of the many areas of 19C art.  Painting a male as an odalisque raises questions about pleasure, sex, abuse, gender roles, homophobia, etc.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Merchant's wife taking tea



Sergei Vinogradov Tarkovsky (Russian artist, 1869-1938) Merchant's wife taking tea 1936

Last night I came upon this painting, which I had not seen before. She reminded me of other favorites, which I had to post here for you.  The artist below, Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev,  became a paraplegic in 1916, writing "Now my whole world is my room." His ability to remain joyful & lively, despite his paralysis, amazed others.


Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev (Бори́с Миха́йлович Кусто́диев) (Russian artist, 1878-1927) 1920 Merchant's Wife 


Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev (Бори́с Миха́йлович Кусто́диев) (Russian artist, 1878-1927) Merchant's Wife Drinking Tea


Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev (Бори́с Миха́йлович Кусто́диев) (Russian artist, 1878-1927) 1920 Merchant's Wife on Balcony


Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev (Бори́с Миха́йлович Кусто́диев) (Russian artist, 1878-1927) Merchant's Wife Drinking Tea


Sunday, November 16, 2014

18C British Inns, Taverns, & Public Houses without Outdoor Gardens


 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) A Country Inn with Two Soldiers



 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) A Wayside Inn



 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) An Inn on an English Common



 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Figures Outside a Village Pub



 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Near Hackney



 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Public House



 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) The Fox Public House on Old Winsor Green



Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) The Spread Eagle Tavern, Millbank



 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) The Old Swan Inn



 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) A Carriage And Figures Travelling The High Road Near An Inn



 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Back of the Public House near Bayswater



Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Carriage at Inn


Friday, November 14, 2014

Women by the water from Finnish artist Eero Järnefelt 1863-1937



Eero Järnefelt (Finnish artist, 1863-1937) Women Washing

Eero Järnefelt (Finnish artist, 1863-1937) studied at the St. Petersburg art academy between 1883-1885, the same school at which Albert Edelfelt had studied. Eero Järnefelt's sister Aino Järnefelt married composer Jean Sibelius in 1892.  He studied in Paris in 1886, where he was inspired by the naturalistic paintings of Jules Bastien-Lepage On a trip to Keuruu in 1889, he met actress Saimi Swan. They were married in 1890.


Eero Järnefelt (Finnish artist, 1863-1937) Kotimatkalla, 1903



Eero Järnefelt (Finnish artist, 1863-1937)