Italian Antonio Gargiullo Orientalist Watercolor Painting
This lovely watercolor on paper, circa 1885-1907, depicts a female beauty and palace guard. Signed "A Gargiullo" lower right. Verso carries the original paper label from Williams & Everett of Boston. Sheet measures 21 3/4 by 14 5/8 inches (55 by 37 cm). Sheet is affixed to board and there are no signs of restoration. There is some light surface dirt and some dark spots. The work resides in a later frame with scratches and scuffs, and small surface losses at the corners and along the edges. Frame measures 31 1/2 by 24 1/4 by 3 inches. Provenance: Bonhams, Dubai, May 13, 2010, Lot 39, $12,000-$18,000 estimate.
According to Bonhams, Antonio Gargiullo was born in the south of Italy and settled in Rome where he became admired for his genre scenes, including many in the Orientalist style. He is believed to have been inspired by Guiseppe Signorini's Oriental-themed masquerade ball in 1881, the influx of Tunisians visiting Rome, Persian rugs imported from abroad and the various Islamic objects bartered and sold throughout the city. This work depicts a woman posing in a doorway, with her fan pointed away so we may enjoy its elaborate design and colors.
Founded in 1855 by Henry Dudley Williams and William Everett, the Williams & Everett gallery represented American and European painters, including Jean Baptiste-Camille Corot, Albert Bierstadt, Mary Cassatt, and George Inness. Originally located at Bedford and Washington streets, the gallery moved to 79 Boylston Street in 1885 where it remained until its closure in 1907.