Jewish Woman of Algiers Seated on the Ground

Artist: Théodore Chassériau (French, Le Limon, Saint-Domingue, West Indies 1819–1856 Paris)

Date: ca. 1846

Medium: Watercolor over graphite on wove paper (trimmed and laid down on blue wove paper)

Dimensions: Sheet: 11 3/4 x 9 1/8 in. (29.8 x 23.2cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1964

Accession Number: 64.188


Chassériau, one of the most important figures in French art of the nineteenth century—although he is not well known today—followed Eugéne Delacroix (French, 1798–1863) and others who traveled to North Africa in response to the prevailing vogue for exotic subjects. Chassériau spent several months of 1846 in Constantine, Algeria, making well over one thousand sketches, which provided him with subject matter for his paintings for the rest of his short life. This young woman with an intense gaze bears a strong resemblance to the one depicted in Chassériau's "Scene in the Jewish Quarter of Constantine" of 1851. Notations along the right edge give details of the fabrics and colors of her costume.