Sotheby’s forthcoming sale of 19th Century European Paintings in London on Wednesday, June 3, 2009 will bring to the market a fine selection of works from the Orientalist genre, a corner of the international market that has seen its profile continually gather momentum on the international stage in recent years. In 2008 Sotheby’s sales of Orientalist Art worldwide brought a combined total in excess of $36 million.
Eugène Delacroix’s (1798-1863) Le Combat is the most valuable of the Orientalist works on offer in London in June with an estimate of £300 000-500 000. Painted circa 1856-58, the highly focused composition epitomises the eminent French artist’s dynamic North African subjects. The work – which is brimming with energy – portrays a cloaked combatant on his rearing horse taking two attackers, lying in ambush, by surprise and it combines Delacroix’s first-hand experience of Morocco with his own romantic vision.