Early 20th-Century

North African Genre Scene, The Carpet Merchant

Early 20th-Century

North African Genre Scene, The Carpet Merchant

This early 20th-century oil painting depicts a North African carpet merchant within an interior.

It’s fascinating when a painting alludes to more than simply a visual representation. Here, within this ancient structure, high walls are adorned with the vibrant colours of exquisitely-made carpets. The bounteous array of tones contrasting with the white stone of antiquity. But can you imagine the sounds? The fervent bartering and vigorous explanations?

For centuries, dealers have emphasised the labour-intensive skill required to produce such pieces. While buyers are keen to reduce the price. Here, the artist is painting from life, perhaps standing with an easel or sitting on steps. Attempting to capture this age-old dance in all its splendour.

Did you know: In areas of Morocco, wool is considered sacred, with many citing its power over evil.

Stylistically, it feels French, but they probably hailed from Germany, perhaps training in France. Artists often travelled to Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt on study trips, a journey made popular by the ‘orientalists’ of the 19th century.

Signed illegibly lower right and held within a later frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 24½” x 18½” / 62cm x 47cm
Year of creation: c. 1940
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light wear.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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