• Orientalist Masterpieces Inclu auction at Christies

    Sale 7823

    Orientalist Masterpieces Including an Important Private Collection

    25 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 1

    Ferdinand Max Bredt (German, 1868-1921)

    In a courtyard, Tunis

    Price Realised  


    Ferdinand Max Bredt (German, 1868-1921)
    In a courtyard, Tunis
    signed and dated 'F. M. Bredt./Tunis.' (upper right)
    oil on canvas
    30¾ x 46½ in. (78 x 118 cm.)
    Painted in Tunis.

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    Ferdinand Max Bredt is regarded as one of Germany's foremost Orientalist painters of the 19th century. Like many of his compatriots who were interested in the world of the Orient, he travelled extensively in Greece, Turkey and Tunisia, recording his journeys on both paper and canvas.

    His works often depict the everyday life in the harem and its inhabitants -- luxuriant scenes graced by richly attired odalisques. Alternatively, he depicted women chaperoned in an outdoor setting against a backdrop of exotic architecture. As in the present work, the definining characteristic of the artist is a profound sense of languor and softness, achieved through a wonderful sense of contour and gentle colours.

    Like many of his peers, the artist made use of authentic artefacts to lend an aura of reality to these otherwise fantastical scenes. As a precise draftsman, Bredt had a keen eye for detail which enabled him to capture the intricacies of the local architecture with beauty and grace, before placing his naturalistically styled figures in the foreground.

    The present painting portrays an oriental noblewoman in Tunis enjoying a lazy afternoon in the courtyard. She is lost in thought, dreaming whilst holding a fragrant branch with flowers. The light is limpid and bright and the costumes of the women clearly echo the virginal white of the buildings. Bredt displays his exceptional skill at calibrating tonal contrasts to generate atmospheric effects that are absolutely true to time and place. The heat of this luminous day in the courtyard is almost palpable, accentuated by the strong interplay of light and the serene and languid nature of these figures, sheltering in welcome shade.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    With Richard Green, inv.no. AX 131 WH.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Munich, Königlichen Glaspalast, Münchener Jahresausstellung von Kunstwerken aller Nationen, 1891, cat.no. 2813.