Though Austrian by birth, Ludwig Deutsch worked mainly in France, where he achieved great popularity in the 1890s with his detailed Egyptian genre scenes. He briefly attended the Vienna Academy but received most of his artistic training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He exhibited his first picture at the Salon in 1879 and was a regular contributor for the rest of his life. In 1900 he won a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris and was made Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur by the French goverment.
Deutsch was, along with Rudolf Ernst, amongst the most influential Austrian Orientalists. A Horseman in the Desert depicts an authentic Orientalist theme, 'The Man and his Mount', which artists such as Delacroix, Géròme, and Schreyer explored in many different aspects. It also illustrates one of Deutsch's most prevalent subjects of inspiration, the Nubians, who captured his imagination during his trips to Egypt and had a considerable influence on his creativity.