Adrien Henri Tanoux 1865-1923

The next commission

"The next commission"
signed and dated 'H. Adrien Tanoux 1889-' (lower right)
oil on canvas
(100 x 72.7 cm.)

This curious painting by Adrien Henri Tanoux was sold unframed by Christie's on March 13, 2001 in New York for $10.545 USD. This almost humoristic painting, entitled "The next commission" seems to imply that things were going well in 1889, and that perhaps Orientalist paintings were earning good money (see the previous page for an 1887 example).

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"Taking Tea"
signed and dated 'Tanoux. 1904-' (lower left)
oil on canvas
(61 x 73 cm.)

Now we look at a 1904 painting, I wonder if we could imagine that this is a snapshot of the home and life of H. Adrien Tanoux which is the way he signed some of his paintings. We see him now in a comfortable if not luxurious home surrounded with Orientalist relics, oriental carpets and or tapestry... this is exactly as we might imagine and when we consider that his favorite model of this period (shown at the bottom of the previous page) always had her hair attached in the same way as the woman in this picture...


signed and dated 'Tanoux. 1905-' (lower right)
oil on canvas
(54 x 38 cm.)

Could this now be the same model a year later? One wonders about such a title, if this was your wife would you have given the painting such a title? Painting voluptuous nude women who are not your wife may lead to problems... whatever happened Tanoux appears to have gone off to the farm and started painting rural subjects, that are a far cry from his harem beauties. At first I was tempted to think that he married his model and was at this time living comfortably from his painting. However perhaps the reality of his life was something different, I can imagine another scenario where Tanoux was forced to paint Orientalist Art because that is where the money was, he painted other subjects such as the street sellers in "Revendeurs et revendeuses," which must have been infinitely more work, but with a possibly more limited market value. This has often been the way for painters, they can't paint what they like because it won't earn them enough money, so they prostitute their skills to make money by painting what the public wants to see (and pay for).

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"The Washer"
signed and dated 'Tanoux. 1892-' (lower right)
oil on canvas
(82 x 54 cm.)

I discovered this painting by Tanoux by accident searching "Tanoux 1892" with google where it can be found on www.gixcel.com. I have not framed it as it stands better on its own as a work of pure art, is this what Tanoux really wanted to paint, reality? If you zoom in on the high resolution image at Gixcel, you can see that Tanoux has even included a detail of a tear in this womans shirt where she has stitched it back together.

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"Harem Beauty"
signed 'Tanoux' (lower left)
oil on canvas
(106.6 x 80.6 cm)

This painting sold for $25.000 USD at the Sotheby's 2009 auction, 19th Century European Art including Importnat British Paintings, New York, 22/10/2009. Lot 130. The auction detail states: signed in the lower left however we do not see it in their photo, nor is it dated. This is the kind of Orientalist painting that was very popular and we can perhaps speculate about the "reality" of this scene, while there is no doubt about the reality of "The Washer", "harem Beauty" may not be based on reality per se... one wonders how we might handle the situation, if thrown by some magical circumstance into this room. Here then is the bread and butter of Tanoux. At the top of the page I was speculating on whether or not "Taking Tea" was a snapshot of the home and life of Tanoux, however now , in retrospect I can imagine it is rather, the home of a typical Tanoux client searching yet another Orientalist piece to add to his collection and decor.

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"The Sultan's Favorite"
signed 'Tanoux' (lower left)
oil on canvas
(63.5 x 45.7 cm)

This painting sold for $23.750 USD at the Sotheby's 2007 auction, 19th Century European Art , New York, 23/10/2007. Lot 186

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"The Favorite"
signed and dated 'Tanoux 1904' (lower left)
oil on canvas
(60.5 x 81 cm)

This painting is listed in the archives of Düsseldorfer Auktionshaus as sold at auction for 67.000 EUROS

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"The Harp Player"
signed and dated 'Tanoux 1913' (lower right)
oil on canvas
(74 x 54 cm)

This painting was sold in the 2005 Sotheby's auction British and Continental Pictures, Olympia 1 09 March 2005, Lot 144, Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium 3.600 GBP. It has been listed by Sotheby's as being 74x44cm. however all digital reproductions of this painting, including Sotheby's auction photo, measure to be 74 x 54 cm.

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"Portrait of a Spanish Lady... "
signed and dated 'Tanoux 1901' (center left )
oil on canvas
(61.5 x 46 cm)

This painting was sold in 1998 by Christie's for $2.298 USD in their IMPRESSIONIST AND 19TH CENTURY PICTURES auction, London, South Kensington, 2 December 1998, Lot 283/Sale 8221. This would have been a very good investment for the buyer, as I think that today it may sell for a lot more.

On the next page we will look at some of the more eccentric Orientalist paintings by Adrien Henri Tanoux...

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created by L. A. Miller in collaboration with Jean Duday.


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