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Harem Scene

35 1/2 x 23 1/2 in. (90.2 x 59.7 cm)

Daniel Israel
Austrian (Vienna, 1859 - 1901, Vienna)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Anonymous gift
Accession Number: 1991.15
Location: Currently on view
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The scene depicted here is an example of Orientalism, the portrayal of Eastern figures and scenes-both real and imagined-by western artists. This was a popular aspect of Academic painting. Here a girl tries on jewelry while an older woman, perhaps her maid, looks on approvingly. The intimate alcove of a vast, columned interior allows the artist to show his skill at rendering the patterned fabrics, such as the hanging drapery and the maid's robe, and the jewels that spill from the inlaid chest behind the girl.

The 19th century provided many opportunities for artists to travel to Asia and Africa as those lands were being explored, exploited and colonized by European countries. While some paintings were anthropologically correct, based on the artists' experiences, others chose to portray the people of these faraway lands in settings and poses that demonstrated the vast perceived difference between their circumstances and Europeans'. Women, especially, were held up as object lessons of decadence and sensuality in ways Europeans would not have been.

[Gallery label text, 2011]

label back of stretcher commercially printed Mal. & Zeichnungs-Utensilien / & / Schreibmaterialen / Jos. Bayerle / München / Akademiestrasse II
inscription back of frame hand-written (Note that spelling of "Gallery" is English, not German) Herman / COHN / [ ]te Gallery
label back of frame commercially printed GEO. H. BRODHEAD / Fine Arts / No. 150 EAST AVENUE / ROCHESTER, N.Y.
inscription back of frame hand-written 98
label back of stretcher hand-written C / 143
inscription back of stretcher hand-written European-style 7, with line through center 375[ ]1
label back of frame commercially printed Printed in red, largely illegible. Note that "strasse" is spelled with two s's and not ß M[ ]HA[G or C]E Gesellschaft / München Adalbertstrasse 46 / [ ]
stamp back of stretcher ink stamped Center illegible-- text or design? See image, attached BUNDESDENKMALAMT WIEN

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