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Arab Rider in the Desert, 1908

Paul Jouve (1878-1973).

Oil on panel, signed lower right.

21 ¾ × 18 inches


Paul Jouve’s work has been celebrated and collected for over 100 years. His talent was so profound that he found success while still in his teens and went on to have a very long and successful career. His work has touched millions of people since before he was chosen to create the illustrations for the beloved 1919 edition of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (copies can be seen being offered at $100,000).


This evocative and boldly colored painting depicts a Tuareg horseman who seems to be watching over the horizon. In this stunning and powerful image, Jouve emphasized the grandeur, beauty and majesty of the desert horseman who casts a protective eye over his domain while astride his beautifully dressed mount.


Painting Description:

"In 1908, Paul Jouve, upon his return to Algeria, went alone to visit the Maghreb of North Africa. Initially settling in Boghar, Algeria Jouve pushed on to the small village of Timbuktu. There in Timbuktu, he stopped for a while to set up his easel before continuing his journey to the valley of Bou Saada, Algeria, also referred to as the "Pearl of the South", more than two hundred kilometers away, where the painter Maxime Noiré (later marrying her daughter, Annette) often stayed. His mind was no longer on artistic manifestations. He was thirty years old, communing with the universe, time no longer existed and these patriarchs he met from past centuries, wrapped in long white coats, much like their ancestors, living amongst them in this unchanging desert, impressed him deeply. His style became purer under the effect of this immensity and became more incisive, his drawing more supple and quicker, gathering the form in a few essential strokes to transpose it without environment, except in rare desert landscapes, suggested more than represented, in which he privileged the presence of the character or the animal, leaving them all their graphic importance, his works thus developed in a new dimension."


 “I found the truth in the South,” he said. After spending two years in Algeria, Jouve would occasionally return to France and Europe, especially to Antwerp and Amsterdam, where he visited the zoos to prepare his animal studies.


Bibliography: Paul Jouve, peintre, sculpteur, animalier, 1878-1973, Félix Marcilhac, Éditions de l'Amateur, 2005.


There are only two other paintings on this type of support, made during the artist's stay in Algiers, in May 1908 at the Villa Abd-el-Tif, The battleship La Démocratie in the roadstead of Algiers (collection of the Museum of the 1930s, Boulogne Billancourt) and The Mosque and Cemetery of Hamma, Algiers, 1908 (private collection).


Expertise and guidance kindly provided by The Museum of the 1930s, Boulogne Billancourt and their large collection of Paul Jouve paintings.

Orientalist Painting: Tuareg Rider in the Desert, 1908 Paul Jouve (1878-1973)

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