The northern savanna Nile buffalo signed and dated 'L. Deutsch 1913' (lower left) oil on canvas 81.28 x 101.6cm (32 x 40in). Painted in 1913.
PROVENANCE: Private collection, Illinois, United States Sale, Christie's New York, 22 October 2008, lot 117
EXHIBITED: Probably exhibited; Paris, Salon de la Société des Artistes français, 1913, no. 591
Ludwig Deutsch, one of the most important Austrian Orientalists, was born in Vienna and, like his contemporary Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932), attended the city's renowned Academy of Fine Arts. Deutsch went on to settle in Paris, studying at the studio of Jean-Paul Laurens where his early work consisted of historical subjects. By the 1880s, Deutsch began to primarily focus on the Orientalist themes for which he would become well-known, undoubtedly influenced by the great Jean-Léon Gérôme, and began his voyages to North Africa and the Middle East in Egypt. Like Ernst, Deutsch collected artifacts from his travels and even decorated his home in an Orientalist fashion, visually submerging himself in the lifestyle which he sought to capture in his paintings.
In 1900, Deutsch was awarded the coveted gold medal at the Exposition Universelle for an Orientalist composition, marking the pinnacle of his career. Starting in 1910, he began to paint scenes of every day life along the Nile and experiment with Post-Impressionism, a term coined by art critic Roger Fry during that same year to describe French art since Manet. As a style known for its broad brush strokes, thick paint application and real-life subject matter, Post-Impression is expertly illustrated in the present work, The northern savanna Nile buffalo which showcases Deutsch's understanding of the natural world and proportion. Painted in 1913, the work encompasses the progression of the artist's style from fantastic to domestic while retaining his eye for color, light and detail.