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David Roberts, in the dress he wore in Palestine,1840 - by Robert Scott Lauder


Limited Edition Prints
of Muslim Art


Introduction - Western Art and the Islamic World

The Prayer - Van der Ouderaa,1894

In the early nineteenth century, the prolific output of art in Europe found a new source of inspiration in its encounter with the Islamic world of the Near East to rival the attractions of the Grand Tour of Europe. Following the pioneering six-month visit of Eugene Delacroix to Morocco and Algiers in the 1820s, adventurers like David Roberts, Leon Belly and Jean-Leon Gerome were captivated by the sights encountered during journeys up the Nile, into the hitherto unexplored Maghreb or on the Arabian peninsula. They marvelled at the architecture, were fascinated by the different peoples and their dress and, as artists, were often exhilarated by the luminous quality of light. Inevitably, they sought to capture their experiences on canvas and the images they produced, and many artists after them, became known as Oriental Art.

Orientalism encompasses art, music, literature, architecture and design but, as far as Oriental Art is concerned, it is characterized by its focus on a common fascination with a region rather than a movement or a style.

Pilgrims going to Mecca - Leon Belly

From Delacroix and Ingres in the early 1800s through to Klee and Kandinsky over a hundred years later, the Orientalists are collectively defined by their efforts to depict aspects of daily life in the predominantly Muslim culture of the Middle East. Even David Roberts' prodigious output from his journeys through the Holy Land portrayed more of the Islamic traditions and practices of the region than those of Christian and Jewish settlers.

The Damascus Gate -  RobertsRoberts was born near Edinburgh in 1796 and as a young man travelled extensively to pursue his interest in art. By the time he was 42 he was an Associate of the Royal Academy and was planning a major expedition to Egypt, Jordan and Palestine. His first journey lasted nearly a year and he returned to England with what has been described as 'one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of art' - his stunning collection of lithographs known as Roberts' Holy Land. In the days before the camera, this almost photographic representation of nineteenth century life in the Near East inspired fellow artists and the general public alike. The following year, Roberts was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy and it was not long before other artists took up the challenge to create images which would establish their reputations and delight the art connoisseur.

Prayer on the Housetops - GeromeOne of the most successful - and most prolific - was Jean-Leon Gerome. He studied under Paul Delaroche and Charles Gleyre in Paris in the 1840s and his reputation was established following a highly-acclaimed exhibition at the Paris Salon in 1847. He first visited Egypt in the 1850s and made numerous trips to the Near East thereafter. His influence grew with his appointment as Professor at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1863 and the output of Gerome, his pupils and those influenced by him form a major part of the heritage of Oriental Art for the second half of the nineteenth century.

detail from The Scribe - DeutschThe pursuit of Orientalism in art was not limited to Britain and France. Germany and the United States also contributed their share of masterpieces from artists such as Gustav Bauernfeind, Emil Glockner, Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Edwin Lord Weeks and Frank Waller. In the early 20th century, the well-known artists Kandinsky, Klee and Matisse brought their distinctive styles of interpretation to the images of the Middle East in a way which Gerome and others may not have approved but which reflected the impact of Impressionism which Gerome had vehemently opposed.

Now in the early 21st Century the latest generation of artists comprising talented Europeans, Arabs and North Americans have started to make their mark as the New Orientalists. The fascination of Western Art with Islamic culture and the way of life in various parts of the Middle East will no doubt go on producing vibrant works of art for the enjoyment of future generations.

However, if you want to own a top quality reproduction of one of the original Orientalists' masterpieces, just go to Enquiries and send us a request for a quotation.

Oriental Interior - BridgmanWe are able to supply these works of art, in oils on canvas, in any size you require for hotels, offices or the home. Please feel free to ask for a Quotation without any obligation to buy.

And if you are looking to develop an Orientalist theme for offices or hotel lobbies and bedrooms, please contact us to discuss your requirements. Let our experience guide your choices. In the meantime, you can gain some idea of the range of works available by visiting our online galleries of paintings by some of the best-known Orientalists.

See also our EGEE EDITIONS Galleries Lyons Corner House are proud to be associated with Dale Egee of Egee Art Consultants. We have taken over Egee Editions and aspire to continue the work built up by Dale Egee over the past twenty five years. We hope to continue the tradition of Arab art for the Arab World.


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