Adolph Schreyer (German, 1828–1899),
oil on canvas, 39 1/16 x 56 ¼ in.; 99.22 x 142.88 cm
Gift of Francis T. B. Martin, 1990.6
Schreyer, trained at the Düsseldorf academy, is best remembered for his pictures of Arab horsemen. Based on first-hand observation in North Africa around 1860, they remained his mainstay for decades to come. Not unlike the Romantics before him, Schreyer emphasized the (to Western eyes) mystery of Arabian nomadic life and the exoticism of customs and costumes. His lively painterly style is indebted to 1820s Romantic colorism as well as to the Impressionists’ high-key palette, which was emerging in the 1860s. It contrasts sharply with the precise, highly finished technique of other Academic Orientalists like Jean-Léon Gérôme.