Description: La prière du soir à Tanger
signed and dated 'LECOMTE.DU.NOUY 79' (center right)
oil on canvas laid down on panel
36 x 20 1/4 in. (91.4 x 51.4 cm.)
Painted in 1879
Artist or Maker: Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte Du Nouÿ (French, 1842-1923)
Literature: R. Diederen, From Homer to the Harem: The Art of Jean Lecomte du Nouÿ, New York, 2004, p. 168, no. 141.
Provenance: with Knoedler & Co., New York.
Notes: 'Gerôme est mon maître et Raphaël mon Dieu' (as quoted in R. Diederen, From Homer to the Harem, 2004, p. 9) claimed the French painter and sculptor Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte de Nouÿ. Born in 1842 he studied under both Charles Gleyre and Jean-Léon Gérôme, the latter being an important and visible influence in his art. Lecomte de Nouÿ began his career as a part of the Neo-Greek movement but ultimately specialized in Orientalist subject matter. He travelled throughout the Middle East and often painted Muslims praying, just as Gérôme had before him.
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In La prière du soir à Tangers, Lecomte de Nouÿ portrays an elderly Muslim man praying with two women seated to his right. Both the figure as the main centerpiece of the painting and the structural background depicting the rooftops of Tangiers were typical of Lecomte de Nouÿ's passion for portraiture as well as architecture.