The Night Patrol at Smyrna
Alexandre–Gabriel Decamps (French, 1803–1860)
Oil on canvas; 29 1/4 x 36 3/8 in. (74.3 x 92.4 cm)
Signed (lower right): DECAMPS.
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Bequest of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, 1887 (87.15.93)
Decamps was greatly inspired by a trip he took to North Africa and the Near East in 1828. His resulting paintings contributed to the increased interest in exotic Oriental themes among French collectors. Night Patrol at Smyrna depicts Turkish military patrols making their rounds. It is a variant after a slightly larger painting (Wallace Collection, London) and probably dates to the end of the artist's life, when he is known to have reworked earlier compositions. The picture belonged to the Metropolitan Museum's first president, John Taylor Johnston, until 1876, when it was purchased by Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, the Museum's first female benefactor.