Egypt Cairo, 1870

A study of Cairo in oil by Louis Comfort Tiffany, one of the greatest Art Nouveau painters
Egypt Cairo, 1870
Egypt Cairo, 1870

One of the greatest Art Nouveau painters was the New Yorker Louis Comfort Tiffany. Although he&rsquos best known for his masterful stained glass works and for his artists&rsquo group, the Associated Artists of America, his original medium was oils. As a young man, and before his interest in glassmaking began in 1875, Tiffany had travelled extensively in Europe, visiting ateliers and studios of noted Orientalist art&shyists such as L&eacuteon-Adolphe-Auguste Belly. In 1870, he travelled through northern Africa, from Egypt to Morocco with his friend and fellow painter R. Swain Gifford. The Islamic cultures, their architecture and art was to form a life-long influence on the painter. The most immediate influence was seen in Tiffany&rsquos oil paintings, which he exhibited in New York.

This study of Cairo exemplifies Tiffany&rsquos wonder and admiration for a culture that was so alien to him. Titled On the Way between Old and New Cairo, the magnificent dome and minarets of the Ottoman-style Citadel Mosque of Mohammad Ali Pasha dominate the scene, as it still does today. This mosque remains the most prominent building on the Cairo skyline, and Tiffany&rsquos depiction of the building, alongside Mameluk tombs of the Cairo Ne&shycropolis and the caravan is a magnificent evocation of a particular place and time.

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