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Alexander Orlowski

(1777 Warsaw – 1832 St. Petersburg)

Seigneur Persan / se promenant a cheval / en fumant son khaliane porté par son domestique et / Femme du Schach / conduite par un eunuque. Two chalk lithographs on wove paper. 43 x 52.5 cm. 1819. In the original grey-green wrapper. Published by Alexandre Pluchart, St. Petersburg 1820.

The painter and printmaker Alexander Orlowski studied in Warsaw under the Frenchman Jean-Pierre Norblin de la Gourdaine and enjoyed the patronage of Prince Joseph Poniatowski. After the partition of Poland the young artist sought his fortune in the land of his country’s former arch-enemy, settling in St. Petersburg in 1801. In order to continue his education as an artist he undertook study trips to France, Germany and Italy. In his new home of St. Petersburg, Orlowski, whose name is now largely forgotten, became a much sought-after painter of historical subjects, animal studies and scenes of Russian daily life, which he depicted in evocative, atmospheric genre scenes. In 1812 the artist was appointed painter to the Imperial Court.

Orlowski was the first lithographer to work in Russia and was undoubtedly inspired in his efforts by French models. These two lithographs from 1819 depicting oriental riders in picturesque costume certainly betray a profound knowledge of the French art of his day. Stylistic influences from Horace Vernet, Delacroix, Géricault and other masters of French lithography are unmistakable even at this early stage, given the date when the lithographs were produced. Orlowski exhibits considerable craftsmanship. Contrary to what the long-winded title would lead us to expect, the Orientals and their spirited mounts are briskly and skilfully characterized, while the landscape staffage is rendered with soft transitions.

Very fine, nuanced impressions with full margins. Some foxing and discoloration, otherwise in very good condition. The two lithographs are rare.

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