Nov 13, 2012
Oct 28, 2008
Oct 28, 2008

Café in Constantinople

Café in Constantinople


Alexandre Bida

(French, 1823–1895)

Brush and black and gray ink, graphite, and stylus on white wove paper coated with a white ground

Support: White wove paper coated with a white ground

Sheet: 40.7 x 29.2 cm (16 x 11 1/2 in.); Image: 38.2 x 25.9 cm (15 1/16 x 10 3/16 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.381



This precise and carefully finished work reflects an unusual technique. Building up the entire area with ink and graphite over white chalk, Bida used a stylus to scratch a comprehensive network of tiny lines, providing highlights and picking out details. For his Orientalist subjects, Bida traveled repeatedly to the Near East-the first time in 1843 when he went to Constantinople and Syria from Venice. Although he closely observed the costumes and people encountered overseas, the decorative arrangements and symmetrical space in this draw-ing exemplify the theatrical aspects of Bida's art.

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