Prayers in the desert signed, inscribed and dated 'Andre Doré/"Prayers in the Desert"/2004' (on the inside rim) oil painted on a 1904 Sèvres porcelain vase height: 74.9cm (29 ½ in). Painted in 2004
The American artist Andre Doré was born in Moscow in 1970 during the former Soviet Union. He studied at the Russian Academy of Arts, where he mastered fine painting and sculpturing techniques, and in 1990 he moved to the United States, eventually settling in New York. In early 2000, Doré embarked on a trip to the Middle East where he immediately fell under the spell of the region, especially the bustling streets and bazaars of Cairo. His second trip was to visit the desert landscapes of Morocco, a favorite destination of the Orientalist artists during the 19th Century from whom Doré drew inspiration for his own work, more notably those of the French and Austro-Germanic schools. Artists like the American Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Jacques Majorelle (1886-1942), and Otto Pilny were most influential in the characterization of Doré's work.
While developing his own contemporary Orientalist style, Doré's indebtedness to the old masters is evident with his meticulously painted Sévres vases like the present work, Prayers in the desert - where the influence of Pilny's generous palate of rose tones can be seen. Unique by today's standards, Doré's exquisite precision, color palate, composition, and tackling of classic Orientalist themes such as feasting celebrations, religious devotion and private relaxation set him apart from his peers. Artistically, he comes from a long line of classically-trained painters and thus, Doré has been enthusiastically commissioned by private collectors in the Middle East and Europe. Moreover, his work has been collected and exhibited in the United States and the Middle East.
Sévres porcelain, which Doré painted in this present work, has roots in France, specifically in Lille, Rouen. St. Cloud, and Chantilly. In 1738 a number of workers moved from Chantilly to form a larger porcelain factory in Chateau de Vincennes near Paris. The then French King Louis XV took a noted interest in porcelain and moved the factory in 1756 to larger quarters in the Paris suburb of Sévres. From the beginning, the king's aim was to produce Sévres porcelain that surpassed the distinguished Saxony works of Meissen and Dresden, and his insistence that only the finest works be produced caused the factory to be forever in financial straits.
The French production of soft-paste porcelain, due to lack of kaolin, a required ingredient for hard-paste, was compatible with a wide rang of colors and glazes, that were in some cases richer and more vivid. Yet because of the extreme fragility of soft-paste Sévres porcelain, pieces that have survived intact are rare. Following the King's near monopoly restricting porcelain production by other factories and limiting the market to the nobility who could afford the extravagant prices, Sevres Porcelain was resurrected thanks to the appointment of Alexandre Brongniart as administer of the Sévres operations in 1798. For forty years, Brongniart presided over incredible progress for Sévres, catering to Napoleon himself, and eliminated soft-paste production due to the discovery of kaolin near Limoges.
Contemporary ownership of a piece of Sévres porcelain is equivalent to owning a piece of history, made all the more new when beautifully interpreted by an artist such as Doré.
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