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MARIUS BAUER (1867-1932)
Before being given the opportunity by the artdealer E.J. Wisselingh to travel to Istanbul in 1888, Marius Bauer (1867-1932) already cherished a great fascination for the East. Inspired by his favorite book A Thousand and One Night and endowed with a vivid imagination the young artist made drawings of the Middle East that strikingly resemble his later work.
During his first journey to Turkey, Bauer was overwhelmed by the unspoilt beauty and exotic richness of the Islamic culture. In a letter to Philip Zilcken, the artist described the mysterious and fairy-tale like atmosphere which would have a lasting effect on his life and work: "..telkens denk je dat Aladdin met zijn slavenstoet uit zoo'n deurtje zal verschijnen, om zijn schatten te gaan leggen aan de voeten van den Sultan, of dat een troep euneuchen in schitterende kleeding je voort zullen jagen..." (R.W.P. de Vries jr, M.A.J. Bauer, Amsterdam 1944, p. 20).
Despite other trips to the Dutch-Indies, Thailand, Indo-China, Italy, Spain and Russia, Bauer's sojourns in the Middle-East would remain the main source of inspiration throughout his artistic career.
Bauer initially established his reputation as an etcher and was often compared to Rembrandt in his rendering of clairobscur. His maecenas E.J. van Wisselingh compiled a volume of his etchings and was mainly responsible for their distribution. Bauer's oeuvre further contained luminous watercolours and vibrantly painted impressions of his oriental journeys, all of which underlined the artist's undisputed reputation as one of Holland's rare orientalists.