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RUDOLPH ERNST (AUSTRIAN, 1854-1935)
RUDOLPH ERNST (AUSTRIAN, 1854-1935)

THE FLOWER SELLER

Details
RUDOLPH ERNST (AUSTRIAN, 1854-1935)
THE FLOWER SELLER
SIGNED 'R. ERNST.' (LOWER RIGHT)
OIL ON PANEL
21¾ X 17¾ IN. (55.2 X 45.1 CM.)

Lot Essay

IN THE FLOWER SELLER ONE CAN SEE ONE OF THE MOST ACCOMPLISHED EXAMPLES OF ERNST'S PICTORIAL 'CONTAMINATIO'. FOLLOWING HIS TYPICAL PROCEDURE, THE PAINTER HARMONIOUSLY MIXES STYLES AND ICONOGRAPHIES FROM BOTH EAST AND WEST, AND ESPECIALLY FROM THE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN BASIN.

ON THE ONE HAND, THE FORMAL FRAME OF THE PAINTING IS UTTERLY WESTERN - ERNST EVEN RESPECTS THE TRADITIONAL EUROPEAN DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE PALE SKIN OF THE WOMAN AND THE DARKER COMPLEXION OF THE MAN - AS ARE MANY OF THE COLOURFUL DETAILS SUCH AS THE FLOWERS - ROSES, VIOLETS, DAISIES, FORGET-ME-NOTS -, ALL TYPICAL OF THE WESTERN BOTANICAL WORLD. ON THE OTHER HAND, ERNST IS PARTICULARLY ATTENTIVE IN DESCRIBING THE ATTIRE OF HIS FIGURES, GENERALLY NORTH AFRICAN, LATE 18TH - EARLY 19TH CENTURY. THE WOMAN HAS A VERY REFINED SASH AROUND HER WAIST, TIGHTENING A PRECIOUSLY EMBROIDERED KAFTAN, AND A SCARF CHASTELY, YET COQUETTISHLY HIDING HER HAIR. THE MAN IS WEARING A SIMPLE DJELLABA, MADE MORE ELEGANT BY THE SCARLET SCARF AROUND HIS WAIST.

THE PIECE OF BRAVURA IN THE PAINTING IS INDEED THE LADIK PRAYER RUG, AN ANATOLIAN CARPET OF THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY, COVERING THE WOODEN BENCH AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE HOUSE. THE VIRTUOSITY IN PAINTING THE BLUE AND TURQUOISE TILES, WHICH SUPERBLY CONTRAST THE DELICATE STONE DECORATIONS OF THE MAIN DOOR, IS ALSO NOTABLE.
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