Edwin Lord Weeks (American, 1849-1903)
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Edwin Lord Weeks (American, 1849-1903)

A Street in Jodphur, India

Edwin Lord Weeks (American, 1849-1903)
A Street in Jodphur, India
signed 'E.L Weeks' (lower right); and with the artist's posthumous sale stamp (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
19 7/8 x 24 1/8 in. (50.5 x 61 cm.)
The artist's studio sale; American Art Galleries, New York, 17 March 1905, lot 238 (sold for $520).
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 10 June 1997, lot 163.
L. Thornton, Du Maroc aux Indes, Voyages en Orient, Paris, 1998, p. 274 (illustrated).
London, Earl's Court, The Empire of India Exhibition, 1895, no. 46.
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Lot Essay

Dating from Weeks' second journey to India of 1892, this painting was exhibited in 1895 at Earl's Court before the addition of the foreground figures. Like other Orientalist painters, Weeks drew on a variety of studio props to animate his paintings; the primary difference in this regard, however, was that unlike his peers, Weeks used only primary source material that he had created or sourced himself, preserving both the ethnographic integrity of his compositions and ensuring that whether modulated to emphasise daily life (as here) or grandiose architecture, setting and people were always in harmony.

Weeks' painting aims to depict the hustle and bustle of daily Indian street life; the context of Jodphur is almost incidental. While the elaborately dressed elephant and the architecture imbue the composition with a sense of the picturesque, it is clearly the simply attired men, women and children who provide the narrative element. Indeed, the focus of the painting is not on the animal, which is subsumed in a sea of humanity, but rather the figure in the lower right corner, who stares out at the viewer, brightly dressed in red, as if caught off guard by a camera.

This painting will be included in the Weeks catalogue raisonné being prepared by Dr. Ellen K. Morris.

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