Woman in Turkish Dress, Seated on a Sofa

Jean Etienne Liotard Swiss

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 642

Whereas other artists used pastel for lively, spontaneous surface effects, Liotard created works characterized by staid movement, a high degree of finish, and verisimilitude. Having lived in Istanbul from 1738 to 1742, he fashioned himself the “Turkish painter,” adopting a beard and Turkish dress as he traveled between European courts for commissions. In an important precedent to nineteenth-century Orientalism, Liotard regularly portrayed European clients with props he had purchased in the Ottoman Empire. His variations on this famous composition, which melds objects from everyday life and elements of portraiture, were extremely popular.

Woman in Turkish Dress, Seated on a Sofa, Jean Etienne Liotard (Swiss, Geneva 1702–1789 Geneva), Pastel over red chalk underdrawing on parchment

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