Rodolphe Ernst Austria

2-14-1854 Vienna, AUT - 1-16-1932, Fontenay-aux-Roses, FRA

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Encouraged by his father, Rudolf Ernst began studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna at the age of fifteen. He spent some time in Rome, copying the old masters, and continued his lessons in Vienna with August Eisenmenger and Anselm Feuerbach.

In 1876, he settled in Paris. The following year, he participated in his first artists' salon. He later made trips to Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Istanbul to study and document what he saw there.

In 1905, he moved to Fontenay-aux-Roses where he set up a shop to produce faience tiles with orientalist themes. He decorated his home in Ottoman style and lived a reclusive life. A devoted Orientalist, Rudolf Ernst concentrated almost exclusively on mosque and harem interiors, as well as other scenes of daily life in North Africa and the Middle East. He based his paintings on photographs and prints, as well as on his own memories and sketches of Morocco and Constantinople.

He made numerous trips to the Orient, where he met in 1883 Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910), founder of the Constantinople School of Art and a former student of John -Léon Gérôme. He also stays in Constantinople where he has access to the Ottoman court.

Although Rudolf Ernst traveled several times to North Africa and Spain, harem scenes as this one would be completely painted from imagination. Access to harems was not granted to foreigners and scenes such as this would have never been witnessed by them.

Rudolf Ernst belonged to the second generation of Orientalist Painters. The first generation, such as Delacroix, Vernet, Colin and Chasseriau were inspired by political events such as the Liberation of Greece and Napoleon's Conquest of Algeria. Artists from the second half of the century such as Gerome, Bauernfeind, Deutsch and Ernst were more interested in depicting scenes from the daily life of the East.

Art Movement: Orientalism
Influences: August Eisenmenger, Anselm Feuerbach
Traveled: Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey
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