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Eugène Girardet
The Sphinx
Oil on canvas : 68,6 X 109,2 cm
Signed lower right “Eugène Girardet”
Unsold at Heritage Auctions Dallas, 21/06/14
Estimate : 10. – 15.000 $ (+ buyer’s premium)

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Painting for Sale
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Girardet, Eugène
"The Sphinx and the Pyramid of Mykerinos at Giza"
In short 
 
Girardet was an Orientalist painter whose attention went completely to the exotic scenery and colourful population of the Arabic world. 
The reason for producing this small oil sketch might be that his master, Jean-Léon Gérôme, had also painted the Sphinx, be it with Napoleon Bonaporte in front of it. Girardet must have painted this painting between his first visit to Egypt in 1898 and 1907 when he passed away.
 
The Sphinx was in those days not yet completely excavated. In 1858 
some of the sand around the sculpture had been cleared, the statue was completely freed between 1925 and 1936. A very interesting detail here in our painting is the darker head of the Sphinx. For that reason the Egyptians used to call it Abu al-Hol, “the Father of Terror”.
 
About Eugène Girardet
 
Also known as Eugène-Alexis Girardet.
 
French painter
Paris 1853 – 1907 Paris
 
Orientalist painter.
Pupil at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris of the Academic painter Jean-Léon Gérome (1824 – 1904), who is well-known for his historical, Greek Revival (Neo-Grec) and Orientalist paintings.
 
Girardet’s father, who was an engraver just as his father, was born in Neuchâtel in Switzerland, but arrived already at a young age in Paris.
In fact all the Girardets, be it his uncles, cousins, brothers and nieces, were engaged either in printmaking or in painting.
 
Our painter visited the Orient a first time in 1874, when he travelled to Morocco, after having made a journey through Spain. He would visit Algeria often, actually eight times.
He visited Egypt and Palestine in 1898, where he painted many views of Cairo and of Jerusalem.
 
In 1877 Girardet and thirteen other painters founded in Paris the Society of French Orientalist painters (“Société des Peintres Orientalistes Français”).
 
About our painting
 
Our painting represents the Sphinx and the Pyramid of Mykerinos at Giza.
 
The Sphinx was in those days not yet completely visible. In 1858 some of the sand around the sculpture had been cleared by the Frenchman Auguste Mariette, the founder of the Egyptian Antiquities Service. Only its head, neck and part of the bedrock that forms its body were visible. Between 1925 and 1936 the French engineer Emile Baraize excavated the Sphinx completely on behalf of the Antiquities Service. 
 
A very interesting detail here in our painting is the darker head of the Sphinx. For that reason the Egyptians used to call it Abu al-Hol, “the Father of Terror”.
 
Girardet had little to no attention for town views or monuments of the Orient. His attention went completely to its exotic scenery and colourful population. The reason for producing this small oil sketch might be that his master, Jean-Léon Gérôme, had also painted the Sphinx, be it with Napoleon Bonaporte in front of it. Girardet must have painted this painting between his first visit to Egypt in 1898 and 1907 when he passed away.
 
Why should you buy this painting?
 
Because it is an extremely rare subject within the artistic production of Girardet.
 
 
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