|The painting shown above was sold at the Sotheby's 2007 Orientalist Sale, it was lot 35 and sold for 216.250 EUR ($277,172 USD). According to the auction data, this is a very large painting, more like a mural, being 3 x 4 meters in size. It is an early work by Tanoux, who would have been only about 22 and possibly still a student of Leon Bonnat. Note that the frame I have selected for this digital reproduction is not in keeping with the size of the actual painting, the reader must imagine that he is seeing a miniture version of the original. In presenting this Gallery of Orientalist paintings, I have elected to display them in variety of frames that may be deemed appropriate for the period, (see www.cadresanciens. Gilded frames, Louis XV style, early 20th century).|
|Next, I have chosen this 1920 painting by Tanoux as being very representative, of the kind of painting that he is most well known for. This painting was recently sold at auction 12 June 2012 London, King Street for $76.141USD. This price was 30 thousand more than the estimate, and is perhaps an indication that Orientalist Art is becoming more collectible. (click on this image to see an enlargement)|
The French painter, Adrien Henri Tanoux, left an indelible mark on the history of Orientalist Art, and yet today he remains a relatively little known artist. He has no page on wiki (yet), and biographical information concerning his life is scant. He was born October 10, 1865 in Marseille. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he was a student of Leon Bonnat. To learn more about Tanoux you need to look at his teacher Leon Bonnat
"Bonnat won a medal of honor in Paris in 1869, going on to become one of the leading artists of his day. He went on to win the Grand Officer of the Légion d'honneur and became a professor at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1882. Bonnat "was a liberal teacher who stressed simplicity in art above high academic finish, as well as overall effect rather than detail," explains Julius Kaplan. Bonnat's emphasis on overall effect on the one hand, and rigorous drawing on the other, put him in a middle position with respect to the Impressionists and academic painters like his friend Jean-Léon Gérôme."
Tanoux appears to have been very successful with his art after studying with Bonnat.
"He exhibited his works at the Salon of French Artists in Paris, where he became Associate in 1905, and received numerous awards: honorable mention at the Exposition Universelle of 1889, a third class medal and a second class medal respectively in 1894 and 1895, when he is also awarded a travel scholarship."
In researching these facts I discovered by good fortune a photograph of the 1895 painting.
I have to remind the reader that this is not a photograph of a street scene in Paris 1895, but a photograph of Tanoux's painting and you can see his signature in the lower right corner, click on the image to see an enlargement. Tanoux was about 30 years old and a very talented artist as this reproduction proves, for which he was rewarded with a medal, indicating that everything about this painting was much appreciated at the time.
"In 1908, he presents new paintings at the Paris Salon:"La leçon de couture" and "La lettre", intimate interior scenes of rural life."
Fortunately I have managed to also dig up photographic copies of the works mentioned here.
|"In subsequent years, he returns to nudes such as: "Après le Bain" 1912, " Fleur du Mal " 1913 or "Parfums troublants" in 1914. "Noted for his nude paintings of sensual and voluptuous women, he practices a figurative style, tender and Mannerist. Often his models are placed in a well-toned atmosphere where he plays light and shade with skill."|
This then nearly covers what we can find on the internet concerning the life and work of Henri Adrien Tanoux. It is hard to find good reproductions of his early works, his Orientalist or rather Odalisque paintings are better represented, below we will look at a few of the most important.
Orientalist Art has been criticized from many standpoints, one of the main issues is that many of the Orientalist painters never even saw the Orient, and had to rely local models and imported props to create their "imaginary" visions of harem life. In the case of Tanoux, we don't know if he ever saw the inside or even outside of a Harem, we only know that he won a scholarship in 1895 which allowed him to travel. He became known for his Odalisque paintings, was Orientalism seen at that time as a pretext or open license to paint naked women? I question, whether an artist ever needed a pretext to paint naked women, it has been done since the dawn of Art. Probably when it comes to painting naked women there is a thin line between that which might be considered beautiful and that which is provocative. I think that society in the last few centuries has generally shunned anything in art that might be considered racy, or sexy, the flaunting of sexuality is something more recent , something that has now snowballed to a point of overflowing. (see rants on apocalyptic signs and the end of the world)
Today I am not sure if we know any more about life in a harem of those days than Tanoux might have, the question is, were those women of the harems unhappy with having a life of luxury, with nothing to do other than occasional sex and smoking hash, Were they slaves who didn't mind being slaves? Today we are all slaves and we don't even realize it, we imagine ourselves free and yet we are all prisoners in world where money means more than life itself. We prostitute our lives to pay the bills, and live in a world where prostitution is starting to look like not such a bad option... is that what it was also like in those days?
The description of this painting derives from www.galeriedesouzy.com
Le thème de la femme du harem reflète parfaitement ce goût pour l'Orient et cette fascination pour ses moeurs mystérieuses qui hantèrent l'Occident durant tout le XIXè siècle.
Adrien TANOUX est un peintre sensuel et élégant, qui sait créer une ambiance chaleureuse et intimiste. Bien qu'ayant une touche vive et enlevée, il sait s'attarder sur un détail, tels les bijoux qui parcourent le corps de la femme et qui se muent en de véritables touches de lumière.
L'arrière plan est en revanche traité plus lègèrement, permettant de mettre en valeur la nudité du modèle. Le brûle-parfum sur son guéridon, le contraste du tapis et de la mosaïque, contribuent à restituer l'atmosphère troublante du harem.
Ce tableau est à rapprocher de "Namouna", oeuvre de 1922 d'Adrien Tanoux conservée au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice. L'esclave qui est de face est la même (et dans la même posture), que celle de notre tableau. "Namouna" est le titre du célèbre poème d'Alfred de Musset, racontant les amours d'une esclave égyptienne et de son maître, le riche marchand Hassan.
Huile sur toile.
Signé et daté en haut à gauche "Tanoux 1921".
Très beau cadre d'origine en bois et stuc doré.
TANOUX Adrien Henri: Né le 10 Octobre 1865 à Marseille. Mort en 1923 à Paris. XIXe-XXe siècles. Français. Peintre de scènes de genre, sujets typiques, figures, nus, portraits, intérieurs, pastelliste. Orientaliste.
Il fut élève de Léon Bonnat à l'école des Beaux-Arts de Paris. Il obtint une bourse de voyage en 1895. Il figura au Salon des Artistes Français de Paris, dont il devint sociétaire en 1905. Il reçut plusieurs récompenses: 1889 Mention Honorable, pour l'Exposition Universelle; 1894 médaille de troisième classe; 1895 médaille de deuxième classe. Il peignit surtout les femmes dénudées des harems.
The description of this painting derives from www.galeriedesouzy.com
Le thème de l'odalisque reflète parfaitement ce goût pour l'Orient et cette fascination pour les moeurs mystérieuses du harem qui hanta l'Occident durant tout le XIXè siècle Adrien TANOUX est un peintre sensuel et élégant, qui sait créer une ambiance chaleureuse et intimiste. Les couleurs chaudes de la chambre contrastent avec la blancheur de la peau de la jeune femme à l'attitude particulièrement lascive. Le peintre, bien qu'ayant une touche vive et enlevée, sait s'attarder sur un détail, tels les bijoux qui parcourent le corps de l'odalisque et qui se muent en de véritables touches de lumière. Les tentures murales sont en revanches traitées très lègèrement, donnant un aspect vaporeux qui contribue à restituer l'atmosphère troublante du harem. Huile sur toile. Signé en bas à gauche.
|The last two paintings shown above are undated, and I think the same model. there are a number of other paintings where we see this same red hair in a bob on top. On the next page I am going to present some paintings by Tanoux that may reveal more about his life.|