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How well do you know these 3 works from the Najd collection?

The Najd collection is probably the most important private collection of works related to the Arab world. On October 22nd, Sotheby’s will proceed to the auction of 40 paintings resulting from it. The opportunity for Kawa to introduce you to some of them…

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Riders crossing the desert


Painted in 1870, this work depicts the desert crossing of a caravan in Egypt, under the harsh afternoon sun. Gérôme evokes the calm and total solitude of the desert air. The heat is made palpable to the spectator through the bright sun on the runners’ brightly colored dresses. The note accompanying the work is perhaps the best way to describe the scene here: “The frieze composition of the painting underlines the determined progression of the riders, while the contrast between the precision of the leading group and the great travelers on foot and on camelback suggests a caravan that extends far into the distance”. These different elements create an impression of space and movement that no other orientalist artist could have given on a canvas of this size (41x56cm). This probably explains why the painting is estimated between £3M and £5M


Gustav Bauernfeind, Market in Jaffa 



Gustav Bauernfeind is a German painter, illustrator, and architect who moved to Jerusalem. He is considered one of the best orientalist painters in Germany. His work is mainly characterized by architectural views of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, with most of his work, meticulously executed, composed in a complex and almost photographically accurate manner. Its Market in Jaffa manages to reflect the local architecture and the swarming of a busy street in an extremely faithful way. According to Sotheby’s, his work should sell for between £2.5M and £3.5M


Osman Hamdy Bey, Koranic instruction 



He was the first Turkish artist to appropriate the Western-style and use it to paint his country of origin. Osman Hamdy Bey, perhaps more than any Orientalist painter, embodies the bridge between European and Oriental cultures. From then on, he becomes a legitimate interlocutor for critical speech, comment or judgment on the customs of his country, which he finds too conservative. In Koranic’s instruction, which he signed in 1890, we can find elements along these lines, between the imam who remains wearing shoes in the mosque, or the student who seems drowsy. Here again, the web should bring in a small fortune: the agency estimates the sale at between £3M and £5M


See also

The Louvre Paris welcomes a new space for Islamic art

Published on 17 September 2019