The Carpet Merchant of Cairo
On View: European Art Galleries, 5th floor
Jean-Léon Gérôme traveled frequently through Egypt and the Ottoman Empire from 1853 onward, collecting photographs, textiles, and other props to use in his Paris studio. Although his detailed rendering of two carpets lends this painting a documentary appearance, Gérôme’s stereotypical portrayal of an Egyptian carpet vendor and brightly costumed passersby reveals his desire to appeal to European fantasies of the Arab-Islamic world. In France, such imagined scenes were interpreted as faithful records of an unchanging “Orient,” helping to justify and obscure the harrowing transformations enacted by European imperialism within North Africa and the Middle East.
Oil on canvas
Signed lower left: "J.L. GEROME."
Gift of Joseph Gluck
Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824-1904). The Carpet Merchant of Cairo, 1869. Oil on canvas, 31 7/8 x 22 in. (81 x 55.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Joseph Gluck, 74.208 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 74.208_SL1.jpg)
overall, 74.208_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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