Sotheby’s Orientalist Auction, London

“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 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.


Author: Ian Stuart Dowdy. . . Mr. Ian Ambrose Stuart Dowdy is a retired portrait painter and knows quite a bit about art. Today he can be found giving art advice on the steps of the Art Students League, or shopping for new brushes across the street at Lee's.
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