Frame Size: Width: 26.50″ x Hight: 28.75″
Frame Thickness: 5.25″
Picture Size: Width: 16″ x 19″
Charles Theodore Frere was a renowned artist known for his exceptional ability to capture the essence of distant landscapes and cultures in his artwork. Born in the late 19th century, Frere developed a profound fascination for the Arab culture, which greatly influenced his artistic style. His paintings often depicted scenes that showcased the vastness of the world, the beauty of human bodies from a distance, and the intricate details of various objects.
One of Frere’s most celebrated pieces is “The Bath,” a mesmerizing artwork that exemplifies his unique vision and technical skill. In this painting, Frere masterfully portrays a far dimension, transporting viewers to a distant world. The composition centers around an Arab culture’s ritual bath, a place of serenity and purification.
The focal point of the painting is a water pond with a gentle fountain, providing a serene backdrop for the scene. The water’s surface serves as a canvas for reflections, allowing Frere to explore the interplay between light and shadows. These elements add depth and a sense of tranquility to the artwork.
From a distance, viewers can observe figures immersed in the water pond, each person symbolizing the harmony between the human form and the surroundings. Frere’s skillful use of perspective creates a sense of distance, emphasizing the vastness of the space and enhancing the painting’s ethereal atmosphere.
Intricate details are scattered throughout the composition, depicting small objects that contribute to the overall narrative. Perhaps a collection of ceramic vessels, ornate jewelry, or intricate textiles, these objects provide a glimpse into the cultural richness and attention to detail that permeate Frere’s work.
“The Bath” is a testament to Frere’s ability to capture the essence of a place and its culture. Through his skillful use of perspective, light, and shadow, he transports viewers to a far-off world, inviting them to contemplate the beauty of the human form in a serene and contemplative environment. The painting stands as a testament to Frere’s artistic talent and his enduring fascination with the Arab culture.
Charles-Théodore Frère (1814-1888) was a French Orientalist painter known for his captivating artworks depicting historical subjects, genre scenes, local scenes, landscapes (with figures), and seascapes. He hailed from a family of painters, with his younger brother Pierre-Édouard and his nephew Charles Edouard also pursuing careers in art.
Frère received his artistic education at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under the tutelage of Léon Cogniet and Camille Roqueplan. Following his studies, he embarked on a journey throughout France, exploring regions such as Alsace, Auvergne, and Normandy. In Schlestadt, now Sélestat, he created some of his early works, showcasing his talent in a pencil drawing of a rural farmhouse.
Returning to Paris, Frère exhibited his painting “Vue des Environs de Strasbourg” at the 1834 Paris Salon. In the subsequent years, his Salon exhibits predominantly featured Orientalist paintings inspired by his numerous trips to Africa and the Near East. These journeys greatly influenced his artistic style.
Frère continued to participate in the Paris Salon, the Expositions Universelles, and the Salon des Artistes Français, earning medals in 1848 and 1865. In 1836, he traveled to Algiers and later joined the army during the capture of Constantine in 1837. He produced works for the King of Württemberg during his time in Algeria.
Around 1851, Frère embarked on another journey to the Near East, visiting Malta, Greece, Egypt, and Turkey. This trip allowed him to paint Beirut, Damascus, and Palmyra, making him one of the few artists at the time to depict these locations. He eventually established a studio in Cairo, where he became the court painter and was granted the rank of bey by the viceroy of Egypt.
In 1869, Frère traveled to Egypt once again as a member of Empress Eugénie’s party for the opening of the Suez Canal. However, due to the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, the watercolors he had created for the empress were not delivered. Instead, they were given to the Marquis of Puisaye, a friend and pupil of Eugénie.
One notable artwork by Frère is “Sunset on the Nile, 1877,” which was exhibited at the 1877 Paris Salon. This painting showcases his mastery of capturing atmospheric effects and is currently held in the Collection Berko Fine Paintings in Belgium.
Charles-Théodore Frère’s artistic career was marked by his fascination with Orientalist themes and his ability to transport viewers to far-off lands through his captivating paintings. His contributions to the art world continue to be celebrated and appreciated.