Gérôme, Jean-Léon

Vesoul 1824 - Paris 1904
Biography & List of works

Les murs de Jérusalem

Les murs de Jérusalem

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 23.5 x 31 cm/9.2 x 12.2 cm

Signed: Inscribed lower-left: Murs de Jérusalem

Provenance:

Estate of the artist; Mme Renault, daughter of the artist and heir to the Morot-Gérôme family; by descent until the 1960’s; Private collection, Paris.  

Literature:

The sketch is known to Professor Gerald Ackerman though he will not be supplementing his catalogue raisonné further.

Numerous en-plein-air landscapes were executed by Jean-Léon Gérôme on this second trip to North Africa and the Near East. These oil sketches retain the minuscule holes at the corners where the artist pinned the un-stretched canvas to his travel easel at each sitting; this time Gérôme used canvas, which he found more durable than the paper he had employed for painting on his earlier trip.

Gérôme had made his first visit to Egypt in preparation for the Salon of 1857, in which his earliest Egyptian genre paintings were exhibited. The critic Gautier saw in them ‘a true and fresh view of the Near East’. The variety of subjects and themes he presented astonished the Parisian audience and marked the start of the artist’s career as an Orientalist or peintre ethnographique.

On his later journey in the 1860s, Gérôme visited Judea and Holy Places, where he painted the view of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and the city walls we see here. In the years to come, Gérôme would return frequently to the plein air sketches he had painted whilst travelling. The hilltop view looking over Cairo would become the artist’s dramatic portrayal of the young Napoleon Bonaparte surveying his first great conquest, while Gérôme’s sketch of the Wailing Wall would be transformed into le Mur de Salomon (1869, 92 x 73 cm, Private Collection), populated by praying figures, of which he also painted a vertical sketch (25 x 18 cm.) The artist repainted Jerusalem’s walls here in a 1987 finished painting entitled The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem (oil on canvas: 80 x 127 cm, Vesoul museum.)

Most of these oil sketches are the same size, 23 x 31 cm, and were originally loose sheets, with an annotation sometimes identifying the location of the painting. Known as a group to Professor Gerald Ackerman, the sketches remained with the painter until his death and were inherited by his daughter. They remained in the family until the 1960s at which point Les murs de Jérusalem was acquired by a Parisian decorator and then a private collection, where it remained until 2013.

Numerous en-plein-air landscapes were executed by Jean-Léon Gérôme on this second trip to North Africa and the Near East. These oil sketches retain the minuscule holes at the corners where the artist pinned the un-stretched canvas to his travel easel at each sitting; this time Gérôme used canvas, which he found more durable than the paper he had employed for painting on his earlier trip. Gérôme had made his first visit to Egypt in preparation for the Salon of 1857, in which his earliest Egyptian genre paintings were exhibited. The critic Gautier saw in them ‘a true and fresh view of the Near East’. The variety of subjects and themes he presented astonished the Parisian audience and marked the start of the artist’s career as an Orientalist or peintre ethnographique. On his later journey in the 1860s, Gérôme visited Judea and Holy Places, where he painted the view of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and the city walls we see here. In the years to come, Gérôme would return frequently to the plein air sketches he had painted whilst travelling. The hilltop view looking over Cairo would become the artist’s dramatic portrayal of the young Napoleon Bonaparte surveying his first great conquest, while Gérôme’s sketch of the Wailing Wall would be transformed into le Mur de Salomon (1869, 92 x 73 cm, Private Collection), populated by praying figures, of which he also painted a vertical sketch (25 x 18 cm.) The artist repainted Jerusalem’s walls here in a 1987 finished painting entitled The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem (oil on canvas: 80 x 127 cm, Vesoul museum.)Most of these oil sketches are the same size, 23 x 31 cm, and were originally loose sheets, with an annotation sometimes identifying the location of the painting. Known as a group to Professor Gerald Ackerman, the sketches remained with the painter until his death and were inherited by his daughter. They remained in the family until the 1960s at which point Les murs de Jérusalem was acquired by a Parisian decorator and then a private collection, where it remained until 2013.