American ( b.1849 - d.1903 )
|Image size||8.3 inches x 5.1 inches ( 21cm x 13cm )|
|Frame size||13.6 inches x 10 inches ( 34.5cm x 25.5cm )|
Available for sale from Big Sky Fine Art; this original painting by Edwin Lord Weeks dating from the mid 1870s.
The watercolour is presented and supplied in a sympathetic contemporary frame (which is shown in these photographs), mounted using conservation materials and behind premium glass with UV Protection greater than 70% (Artglass AR 70™).
This antique painting is in superb condition. It wants for nothing and is supplied ready to hang and display.
The watercolour is monogrammed lower left.
Edwin Lord Weeks was one of the most celebrated American Orientalists. He was a painter, illustrator, adventurer and author who lived an exciting and often dangerous life. In an age when many artists travelled in Europe and ‘the Orient” he ventured much further, lived amongst the people he painted and gained sustained international acclaim.
He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1849. His parents were affluent spice and tea merchants who were able to finance his early interest in painting and travel. As a young man he visited the Florida Keys to draw and also travelled to Surinam in South Africa. On his return to Boston he painted history pictures and landscapes and it was clear where his talent lay.
Weeks went to study in Paris between 1869 or 1870 and 1871. He enrolled first at the Ecole de Beaux Arts under Jean- Léon Gèrôme but also studied in the studio of Léon Bonnat in Paris. By this time, he had already visited Morocco, Egypt, Palestine and Syria and he exhibited several paintings inspired by these journeys in his native city of Boston in 1874.
From the 1870s through to the 1890s Weeks travelled extensively throughout Spain, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Persia and India. Some of his journeys were very dangerous and he wrote extensively about his adventures. He was one of the few Westerners to visit Rabat, Salé and Marrakech and at one time he nearly died from typhoid fever. His friend A.P. Close, a journalist and illustrator, who accompanied him on one of his early trips to the Holy Lands and Syria, died in Beirut in 1871 following a fever.
After this Weeks returned to Newtonville, where he opened a studio and married Frances Rollins Hale of Rollisonford, New Hampshire. The following year the couple joined the Scottish artist Robert Gavin on a trip to the Mediterranean and Morocco. It is known that Weeks spent a considerable time in Morocco between 1878 and 1880.
In 1880 Weeks returned to Paris and made that his home. He lived the rest of his life as an expatriate but continued to travel extensively. Between 1882 and 1893 he made three long trips to India, taking not only paints and sketchbooks but a camera with which he made one of the earliest records of some of the architecture and landscapes of the places he visited. He painted by day and developed his photographs at night. At one point he spent at least two years in India capturing the colourful street life in his paintings. These proved extremely popular with French and American collectors and became his particular speciality.
In 1892 Weeks set out on an extended journey through Turkey, Persia and India with the scholar Theodore Child. Weeks recorded his adventures on this trip and his impressions of the Middle East and Asia in a series of illustrated articles that appeared in Harper’s between 1893 and 1895 in book form as From the Black Sea through Persia and India (1896). In 1901 Scribner’s magazine published Week’s extensive account of his travels in Morocco in an article entitled “Two centuries of Moorish Art”.
Weeks enjoyed considerable success exhibiting his works. He showed two figure scenes at the Royal Academy in London in 1878 but after that date exhibited entirely in Paris, contributing to the annual Salon exhibitions. His Salon debut was in 1878 was with a painting of a Moroccan camel driver and he continued to show Moroccan subjects there for several years thereafter. He obtained an honourable mention at the Salon of 1884, a third-class medal in 1889 and a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition, 1900. He became a member of the Société des Artistes Français.
During the 1890s Weeks achieved international recognition as both an artist and author. In 1896 he was made a Knight of the French Legion of Honour and in 1898 he became an officer of the Order of St. Michael of Bavaria.
Weeks died at his Paris residence in November 1903 aged 54, possible from an illness contracted in India. Two years after his untimely death in 1903, his widow sold the contents of his Paris studio and some 277 paintings and sketches at auction in New York.
His works can be found today in many of the leading American museums and galleries as well as the Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsy in Paris.
© Big Sky Fine Art
This original watercolour painting by Edwin Lord Weeks depicts the Bab Zuweila Gates of Cairo, in Egypt. These famous gates were built between 1091-92 and named after members of the Fatimid army who hailed from a North African Berber tribe called the Zuwayli. The gates, which mark the southern end of the Fatimid city, are one of the three remaining gates in the city wall of the Old City of Cairo, the capital of Egypt. During the Ottoman period they were also known as Bawabbat al-Mitwali. The gates feature a pair of minaret-topped semi-circular towers, built of honey-coloured limestone.
Within the arches of the gates there is a group of around twenty people wearing traditional Arab dress in bright colours including yellows, pinks and white; they are standing casually in groups or seated on the ground. It is clear that no one is in a hurry, although the atmosphere is likely and convivial. One man is on a dromedary camel, from which we get a wonderful sense of perspective of the structure. The sky above is a clear pale blue and light pours in from above; we can tell that the meeting place within the tall walls is probably a cooler place to meet and do business than the surrounding streets.
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