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Charles Théodore Frère
Caravan at Dusk

$28,041.85

About

Charles Theodore Frere French 1814 - 1888 Caravan at Dusk Oil on panel, signed lower right Image size: 13 ¾ x 10 ¾ inches Ornate gilt frame Stunning painting by a leading Orientalist artist. Charles-Théodore Frère was born in Paris on June 24, 1814. He was the older brother of Pierre-Édouard Frère, an established genre painter who had studied under Paul Delaroche. The two brother-artists, both attaining such a high level of prestige, was unique in that they treated extremely different themes. Théodore began studying under Jean-Léon Cogniet and Camille Roqueplan. Shortly after beginning his studies, he left Paris and traveled through the countryside of Normandy, Alsace, and Auvergne finding some inspiration in nature. After returning to Paris, Frère used what he had seen in painting his first composition accepted at the Salon of 1834: View of the Environs of Strasbourg), a city located in the Alsace region of France. Alongside this work he also showed a landscape painting based on views of the Brie-Comte-Robert area. His earliest compositions, those exhibited until the Salon of 1836, concentrated on scenes that were available and familiar to him, and also well-known to Salon audiences. But Frère was interested in more than depictions of his home country, and between 1836 and 1838 – several accounts differ – Frère departed on his first journey to Algeria. Visions of the Algerian landscape and people would be present in nearly every one of the works he exhibited at the Salon until 1850. Frère began contributing to the movement known as Orientalism, the depiction of cultures from the near and far East, highlighting their cultural practices, daily life, architectural, and brilliant sunlight with an uninhibited sense of veracity. He became intrigued by these cultures and after his journey to Algeria, which lasted roughly from 1836 or 1837 to 1839, he returned to Paris but later traveled through Egypt, Greece, Turkey, and Syria, presumably beginning sometime around 1851 through 1854. He spent several years in Egypt especially, traveling down the Nile numerous times, and eventually establishing his own studio in Cairo. From 1855 he began to exhibit only Oriental themes at the Salon, including landscapes, cityscapes, and interiors, continuing to do so for the next three decades. These extensive journeys furnished him with a mass of images from which to draw on. These Orientalist themes were not only popular with artists, but also with collectors, the public and most notably, the government, which felt that by encouraging French artists to travel abroad, they were communicating to the public the strength of the French state and their colonial domination. During Frère’s first trip to Algeria he produced several large paintings for the king of Württemberg. In 1841 he sent two paintings to the Salon which were later purchased by Louis-Phillipe. Frère continued exhibiting work at the Salon with great success throughout his life. In 1869 he made his final visit to the eastern Mediterranean, traveling in the party of the Empress Eugénie during her voyage to the Orient, executing, by her order, an album of watercolors. By the end of his career his oeuvre had expanded to include paintings executed after nature, landscapes, interiors, scenes of daily life, each Oriental in orientation. He received a second-class medal in 1848 when he exhibited an astonishing twelve works, and a first-class award in 1865 for Café de Galata à Constantinople (Café of Galata in Constantinople), and L’Île de Philoe - Nubia (The Island of Philoe-Nubia). Throughout his life he would have an extraordinary number of works accepted into the Salon, showing that he was not only a prolific painter, but that his works were very much admired by Salon jurors eager to represent this new Orientalism craze at the Salon. He also became an Officier de l’Ordre du Medjidieh de Turquie and a member of the Société des Artistes Français. He continued exhibiting regularly at the Salon until 1887. He died on March 24, 1888. Charles-Théodore Frère was one of the first generation artists who committed themselves to Orientalist themes, immersing himself in this study throughout his lifetime. His work on such themes was a precedent to many of the younger artists such as Eugène Fromentin who would also begin to work on Orientalist compositions.

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