La belle Orientale By Louis Emile Pinel de Grandchamp (Paris, 14 July 1820 - Beaune, 13 March 1894)
Oil on canvas, 35.5 x 27 cm, signed lower right: "Pinel de Grandchamp
Notice of work
Louis Emile Pinel de Grandchamp was a French Orientalist painter who enjoyed a flourishing career during his lifetime, leaving a varied body of work of Orientalist canvases and contemporary genre scenes, the rediscovery of which we can only welcome.
Our painting is one of the works inspired by the fifteen years spent in the Near East by the painter Louis Emile Pinel de Grandchamp. After a complete artistic apprenticeship in the studios of Hippolyte Dubois and Édouard Picot at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he left Paris in 1849 for Egypt. Thereafter, he lived and worked in Tunis and Constantinople, where a prestigious clientele composed of beys, viceroys and high officials commissioned their portraits.
Back in France, from September 1865, Louis Emile Pinel de Grandchamp composed charming orientalist subjects that were in vogue at the Salon des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he was admitted the following year. For twenty years, he assiduously participated in the annual meeting of the Salon, presenting his works from 1866 to 1889. Throughout his life, he also exhibited in regional capitals: at the Salons des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre, Lyon, Dijon, Chalon-sur-Saône, Bordeaux and Rouen. Occasionally, his works are found on the walls of the European salons in Brussels and Antwerp. In 1876, Louis Emile Pinel de Grandchamp was among the best representatives of French art according to the organizing committee of the Fine Arts section of the Philadelphia World's Fair, which selected his Orientalist Fantasy. His name circulated in international artistic circles and his works were enthusiastically received by the critics, appreciated for their effects of movement rendered by the plastic treatment of light. The numerous photographic reproductions published in the daily newspaper L'Art Contemporain and in the form of an album-card by the company Braun, Clément & Cie, successors and the publisher Adolphe Block testify to the high visibility of the works of Louis Emile Pinel de Grandchamp and their circulation.
This portrait of a young oriental woman is quite remarkable for the finesse of its execution. A soft light envelops the scene and skillfully draws the facial features of this charming model. The young brunette woman with wavy hair is wearing a turban and a silky blouse with fine lace. The painter's skill lies in the choice of a brush-stroked background, in brown-red tones. The emphasis is thus placed on the luminosity of the figure, on the sensuality of the pause and on the preciousness of the description of the accessories.
The young woman leans on a black and gold lacquered wooden box of octagonal shape. Framed by decorative bands, characters in traditional Chinese costumes are represented in an outdoor architecture. This type of lacquered box was produced in
Canton in the 19th century, on special order from European customers. The subject matter of these Chinese boxes, specifically intended for the export market, was perceived as typically oriental by lovers of so-called exotic objects. Many museums, such as the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, preserve fine examples.
With her hands harmoniously crossed, she is also holding an elegant fly swatter with a carved handle probably topped with ivory-colored egret feathers, reminiscent of the finely worked fly swatters from Turkey dating from the 19th century, whose rarity and beauty make collectors very happy.
Louis Emile Pinel de Grandchamp's paintings were already numerous at the end of the 19th century in the collections of the French Fine Arts museums in Beaune and Ales. His orientalist canvases, true supports for daydreaming, continue to arouse the interest of cultural institutions such as the Narbonne Museum and the RAK Art Foundation in Bahrain, which have acquired them in recent years.
Iconographic file on request