“The Bazaar of the Coppersmiths” by David Roberts (1842) sold for £403,200 on March 29, although Sotheby’s estimate going in was £60k – £80k, writes G. Fernandez at theartwolf.com. The suggestion here is that “Orientalist” art is out of vogue and does not sell well, or a least hasn’t been expected to sell well.
When I look at such paintings, my mind casts itself back to Gustave Flaubert’s famous trip to the Near East, specifically Cairo, where he had a rollicking time in 1849. Reviewing Francis Steegmuller’s book in 2013, author Guy Portman suggests the trip gave a serious tilt to the ol’ Flaubert creative engine:
Flaubert’s eye for scatological detail can be seen later in his brilliant classical epic Salaambo. No doubt this trip was a major inspiration. A visit to a hospital provides ample material, such as, not wishing to be too graphic, the anal chancres of a group of syphilitic Mamelukes. Perhaps, that was too graphic.