Head of a Negress of the Hedjaz
This depiction of a woman wearing a veil was likely inspired by Jean-Léon Gérôme’s trip to Egypt in 1856. Perhaps based on a real encounter, the print’s closely observed detail suggests the immediacy of firsthand experience. Despite its apparent realism, Gérôme’s own inscribed title—Negresse du Hedjaz, which uses a racial epithet—and his emphasis on what European viewers perceived as the woman’s exoticism point to the work’s troubling subtext. On his travels, the artist was less interested in creating portraits of individuals than in representing ethnographic “types,” a way of thinking that informed racial hierarchies at a time of France’s colonial expansion in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Drypoint printed chine colle on paper
Gift of Jean Goriany
This item is not on view
Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824-1904). Head of a Negress of the Hedjaz, 1856. Drypoint printed chine colle on paper
, 8 3/8 x 6 1/8 in. (21.3 x 15.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Jean Goriany, 38.75 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 38.75_PS11.jpg)
overall, 38.75_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2021
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