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Rudolf Ernst (Austrian, 1854-1932)
Rudolf Ernst (Austrian, 1854-1932)

In the Mosque

Rudolf Ernst (Austrian, 1854-1932)
In the Mosque
signed 'R. Ernst' (lower right)
oil on panel
23 ¼ x 28 ¾ in. (59 x 73 cm.)

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Clare Keiller
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Lot Essay

In the present work, Ernst faithfully adheres to the mood and culture that he experienced during his travels. Having taken his camera on trips documenting not only the essence of these locations, but the intricate details that are so important in order to truly represent a convincing and powerful image such as in the present work. The chieftain carefully pours the oil in the lamp, while another figure is seated on the ground; with almost photographic precision, Ernst paints the robes and turbans. The whole is set against a background of Hispano-Moresque architecture inspired by the Alhambra and exemplifies Ernst's skill in visually cross-referencing the archetypal designs of various regions in order to create an extraordinarily evocative composition.
Ernst's masterly contrasts of textures and colours can be seen in the present lot. Most of the objects Ernst includes in his paintings were from his own personal collection. Details such as the 19th century Syrian bronze lamp, which is depicted is several of the artist’s compositions, or the beautiful and colourful tiles are part of Ernst's classic repertory. Similar to Jean-Léon Gérôme and Deutsch, with whom he was close friends, Ernst had gathered a sizeable group of artefacts, tiles, lamps, pottery, silks, satins and kaftans from his travels to Moorish Spain, Morocco, Tunis and Istanbul during the 1880s. Ernst's studio, crammed full of these artefacts, resembled a stage-set.

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