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Posted On: 26 November 2008 07:56 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Orientalist paintings attract art collectors

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“We were delighted with the good turnout of the exhibit. A number of guests have expressed their interest in most of the Orientalist paintings we’ve brought here and we have sold most of our paintings of horses,” said Gina MacDermot, co-owner of the Mathaf Gallery of London which is currently exhibiting Orientalist works of art at the Waqif Art Centre. The Mathaf Gallery in London is showcasing 19th century and contemporary Orientalist Paintings at the Waqif Art Centre until December 4 under the patronage of H E Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed Al Thani. The exhibit features a large number of highly valued oil paintings, watercolours and lithographs that represents the artists’ fascination of the East. “It is good to be here during the opening of the Islamic Museum of Arts. It was a beautiful opening. On the first day of our exhibit here at the Waqif Art Centre, we were very pleased when a number of people have expressed their interest to buy our paintings. In fact, we have sold all our Peter Upton paintings, which are mostly of horses,” said MacDermot. The four paintings of Upton, a British contemporary Orientalist painter, that were all sold out were the White Mare and Foal Resting, a 20 X 24-inch oil on canvas; the Shaqab Stud Qatar, a 15 X 20-inch watercolour and bodycolour work; the Arab Stallion Outside Mosque Door, an 18 X 13-inch watercolour and bodycolour work; and the Six Arab Mares at Zubara Fort, Qatar, a 24 X 36-inch oil on board. Austrian Rudolph Ernst’s The Harem, a 24 X 19 1/2-inch oil on panel, is one of the most expensive paintings at the exhibit. Ernst’s work, which is admired for its attention to detail and rich, glossy colours, was influenced by the academic realism of Jean-Léon Gérôme, and was able to capture the textures and motifs of fabrics, ceramics and metalwork with photographic precision. “Guests have been admiring his work since we opened. There are other exceptional Orientalist paintings in the other room. All three paintings in this room, though, are our most expensive and detailed works of art,” said MacDermot, pointing to Ernst’s The Harem; Addison Thomas Millar’s Arab Dancing Girl, a 38 X 28-inch oil on canvas; and Tadeusz Ajdukiewicz’s The Road to Bizerte, Tunisia, a 39 X 65-inch oil on canvas. MacDermot said Mathaf’s coming to Doha is both an educational as well as a commercial experience for her and her husband Brian MacDermot, who started the gallery. The Mathaf Gallery – specialist in Orientalist paintings and has a large collection of oils, watercolours and prints in stock – has been displaying Orientalist artwork for around 30 years. Orientalism refers to the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists, and can also refer to a sympathetic stance toward the region by a writer or other person.