• Orientalist Masterpieces Inclu auction at Christies

    Sale 7823

    Orientalist Masterpieces Including an Important Private Collection

    25 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 2

    Frederick Arthur Bridgman (American, 1847-1928)

    The Nubian Story Teller in the Harem

    Price Realised  


    Frederick Arthur Bridgman (American, 1847-1928)
    The Nubian Story Teller in the Harem
    signed and dated 'F. A. Bridgman. 1875' (lower right); and signed again and inscribed 'Nubian Story Teller in the Harem' (on a label on the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    28 x 43½ in. (72 x 112 cm.)
    Painted in 1875.

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    Some fifteen years after his first tour of North Africa, Bridgman compiled his reminiscences in Winters in Algeria (1890), a publication he both authored and illustrated. In these memoirs, the American-born artist wrote in great detail of his experiences inside the harems to which he had been granted access. Taking advantage of his entry privileges, Bridgman painted the oriental beauties to which he was privy and, as a result, his odalisques appear much more authentic than the more contrived manufactures often executed by his peers.

    The present painting exemplifies the kind of scene to which Bridgman was exposed on his harem visits. The women are adorned in opulent accoutrements and swathed in the finest of fabrics, emblemizing the sense of luxury and richness that was then associated with the East. In his memoirs, Bridgman described with great precision the apparel such women wore. Noting that "the height of fashion [was] to wear everything of the same colour; for instance, yellow head kerchief bordered with gold and silk fringe, yellow ribbons to ornament the thin chemise, yellow silk bodice, pantaloons of the same colour, and yellow leather slippers".(F. A. Bridgman, Winters in Algeria, New York, 1890, p. 30).

    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.


    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 12 October 2000, lot 22.
    with Richard Green, inv.no. AX 94 WH.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Paris, Salon, 1875, cat. no. 299, as: La Conteuse nubienne au harem.