Born in Düsseldorf, Conrad Kiesel recieved his intial tutoring from the famed sculptor Fritz Schaper at his Berlin atelier. Kiesel's subsequent career was split between Munich and Berlin where he established a remarkable reputation for himself both as a sculptor and a painter. As a member of the Berlin Academy from 1892, he was celebrated for his portraits and genre paintings, the latter of which often illustrated contemporary exotic notions of the Orient and its peoples. The present work, of which there are a few replicas in existence, is one of Kiesel's most highly esteemed and famed compositions. Although Kiesel was among many German artists that had never actually experienced the East in person, this painting is a successfully contrived vision of a harem scene. Without having ever entered a harem, these scenes could feel somewhat sanitised, yet here the artist has infused the Mandolin Player with an erotic charge generated by the sensual pose of the sitter and heightened by the luxurious decorations that surround her.