A Ravine: Souvenir of Algeria
Oil on wood panel (1874)
Eugène Fromentin made three trips to Algeria in North Africa between 1846 and 1853. The notes and sketches he made during these expeditions provided a wealth of material for his work. He established himself as an acclaimed Orientalist, a European term to describe writers and artists who took inspiration from the lands of the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia Minor. Using sketches and memories of his travels from more than 20 years earlier, Fromentin created this painting as a romantic reminiscence of a foreign place.
Cattle Pasture in the Touraine, 1853
Parisian middle-class audiences greatly admired the realism of Constant Troyon’s representations of cows and his rendering of light and shifting cloud formations. Inspired by Dutch animal painters of the 1600s, Troyon captured France’s diverse farm animals in the naturalistic style associated with the Barbizon School. These idyllic scenes emphasizing traditional agrarian life were popular in the 1800s, a time when the Industrial Revolution was driving peasants off the land to find work in the city.
Dell at Helmingham Park
John Constable’s personal vision and immediate encounters with nature shaped his landscape paintings. This approach links him to a central tenant of Romanticism. While earlier British artists aspired to represent an idealized view of an imagined landscape, Constable strove to capture the local scenery of his native Suffolk, England.
Constable's intimate vision, as exemplified by this work, was characteristic of the newly intensified attitude toward nature adopted by the Romantic movement. He first visited this dell in 1800, when he wrote to a friend, "Here I am quite alone among the oaks and solitude of Helmingham Park… there are abundance of fine trees of all sorts." He visited once more in 1814, but this is a late work of memory. Constable enhances the rustic atmosphere by including a foreground cow and, in the distance, a stag and red deer. His technique is loose and free, making his trees appear as though they are sighing and swaying in the wind.
"Although born in Germany, Schreyer spent much of his career in Paris. Like Fromentin, whose A Ravine: Souvenir of Algeria is exhibited nearby, he was one of many artists attracted to the exoticism of Arab subjects. His visit to Algeria in 1861 probably inspired this image of an Arab chieftain, mounted on a dark horse and surrounded by his companions. Schreyer was particularly well-known as a painter of horses, and this work highlights his mastery of equine anatomy. He was also an admirer of Delacroix's rich color, and Schreyer's own sparkling brushwork is evident in his rendering of costume as well as the harnesses and tassels of the horses."
Circular Plaque, ca. 1870
"This plaque combines designs from Islamic metalwork with the vivid coloring of Islamic ceramics. The artist, Théodore Deck, was an innovator in French ceramics during the mid-1800s (his work can also be seen in Gallery P32). Deck was fascinated with researching and reproducing lost ceramic glaze recipes, especially those found on ceramics made from the 1400s through the 1600s in Isnik (a Turkish town). The peacock blue he reinvented came to be known as Deck blue."