The Carpet Seller signed, inscribed and dated 'Rudolph Swoboda.Cairo.85' oil on canvas 118 x 86.5cm (46 7/16 x 34 1/16in).
Provenance: Purchased from Stacy-Marks by the current owner, 1976; Private collection, UK.
Rudolf Swoboda the younger (1859-1914) was born in Vienna. In his early career he studied under Leopold Carl Müller (1834-1892), and the pair travelled to Egypt together in 1880.
In 1885, Queen Victoria commissioned the artist to paint a series of portraits of Indian people and other British colonial subjects for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886. He later travelled to the Indian sub-continent at Queen Victoria's request to produce sketches of the local population. Among his subjects were Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, with occupations ranging from military officers to snake charmers and jugglers. Swoboda's portraits describe the diversity of Indian society in finely observed detail.
In the present lot, the artist has chosen a scene from daily life in Egypt, with a carpet seller at a Cairo Bazaar. Similar compositions were favoured by many Orientalist painters, such as Giulio Rosati (see lot 19). Here we see a seller displaying a richly coloured carpet of red, white and beige. These colours are echoed in two elegant standing figures on the left. With the same vivid sense of detail, the artist perfectly observes the expression on the faces of the three main figures.
The frame used for the exhibition of this lot is available for private purchase from Eli Wilner & Company, New York.
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