Wendy Moonen leads her antiques column in the New York Times with a mini-essay on the range of Orientalist collectors in America and abroad. She mentions both Sotheby’s upcoming April 24 Orientalism sale and the Dahesh Museum’s temporary show in a New York townhouse. She also interviews a leading American collector of Orientalist works:
Most Orientalist painters recorded apolitical, timeless, picturesque subjects (mosques, markets, desert caravans), and these works can command huge prices at auction, especially those by Gérôme. (A retrospective of his works will open next year at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.) A year ago Gérôme’s “Rustem Pasha Mosque, Istanbul,” was the top-selling painting in the Orientalist sale at Sotheby’s New York, fetching $1.9 million. In October his “Barde Noir” sold for $1.2 million there.
For the last hundred years collectors of Orientalist art have tended to be Western. Today, for example, Terence Garnett, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, may have the best-known private collection in this country, with works by Gérôme, Bauernfeind and Deutsch. (Some of Mr. Garnett’s collection was exhibited at a show last November at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington.)
“Most people think of 19th-century art as Impressionist,” he said in a telephone interview. “People have never seen Orientalist paintings. I find them aesthetically beautiful for their realism, rich colors and the culture they portray. They are strong images and show the Gulf region in a positive light.”
Recapturing the Allure of Orientalist Art (New York Times)