top of page

"Fantasia of Arabian Horseman" dated 1903 
André Chaumière (French, XlX-XX)
Oil on canvas
Handcrafted original wood frame with bronze applique
20 3/4 x 12 3/4 (28 1/2 x 20 frame) inches.


This fantastic painting of Arabian Horseman is encased in its original, period wood frame. The borders are highlighted by bronze applique featuring floral and meandering foliate designs much like Art Nouveau jewelry pieces of the period. The frame was most certainly handmade by an Arab master craftsman at the turn of the previous century.


The generous use of the magenta, purples and lilac colors shows the painter to be on the cutting of artistry and technology since the color was fairly new to the painters of the late 19th century. 

Little is known about the life of the painter André Chaumière, other than he was active at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the Twentieth century. His work was focused on North African subjects and its likely he lived for some time in French Algeria. 


Though there had been prior interest in the 17th century with the “Orient.” It was with Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt in 1798 that the cultural madness for all things Oriental was borne. The Orient in this case is generally referred to as primarily North African though the areas of East Asia and the Asian Pacific, such as India, Polynesia, and other “exotic” locales are often referred to as well. However, it is with Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, etc., with its mysterious secrets, beauty, rich colors and eroticism (titillatingly strange sexual mores) within the atmospherics of scorching, arid sunlight that inebriated the European imagination like no other. 


It was the French military conquest of Algeria 1830 that more formerly indicates the beginning of this artistic movement and of the apparition of the term Orientalism. With the development of steam-powered seafaring ships, an interconnected railway system, painters, sculptors, and ceramists join militaries and salesmen in discovering yet unknown countries. Riding camels and wearing turbans, French artists, writers, poets, and journalists explored the countries of the Orient sending back wondrous pictures and the tales of authoritarian rulers in sumptuous silks, young female slaves in their harems, and inscrutable warriors to an insatiable base of consumers throughout Europe. 


Some of the 19th centuries greatest artists such as Eugene Delacroix, Eugène Fromentin and Jean-Léon Gerome, among others, explored fascinating new artistic themes that exploded the boundaries of what previously been politely accepted in artistic circles. To the French, Orientalism became especially en vogue during the Second Empire; the reign of Emperor Napoleon III. People from all quarters, aristocrats as much as the bourgeoisie, began their artistic and literally quests into exoticism. The public fascination for the rich Orientalist imagery lasted well into the 20th century based not academic style of the Orientalist artists but mostly the exotic fantasias of the art that captivated the public’s imagination.

Orientalist: "Arabian Horseman" dated 1903 André Chaumière

    bottom of page