A Bashi-Bazouk

Charles Bargue (French, Paris 1825/26–1883 Paris)

Oil on canvas
18 1/4 x 13 1/8 in. (46.4 x 33.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Bequest of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, 1887
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    Bargue, who made very few paintings, is better known for his prints and drawing manuals. Here he treats a theme popularized by his colleague Gérôme (see 2008.547.1, hanging to the left). This bashi-bazouk (mercenary) holds a narghile (water pipe).

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (right): BARGVE.75

  • Provenance

    [Goupil & Cie, Paris, 1875; stock no. 10440; purchased from the artist on July 11, for Fr 15,000; sold on November 4, for Fr 21,600, to Wolfe]; Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, New York (1875–d. 1887)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. National Academy of Design. "Pedestal Fund Art Loan Exhibition," December 3, 1883–January 1, 1884, no. 17 (as "Bazi-Bazouk in a Turkish Cafe," lent by Miss Catharine Wolfe).

    Providence. Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. "French Painting in Africa," April 4–28, 1935, no. 1.

    Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. "Orientalism: The Near East in French Painting 1800–1880," August 27–October 17, 1982, no. 3.

    Neuberger Museum, State University of New York at Purchase. "Orientalism: The Near East in French Painting 1800–1880," November 14–December 23, 1982, no. 3.

    Southampton, N.Y. Parrish Art Museum. "In Support of Liberty: European Paintings at the 1883 Pedestal Fund Art Loan Exhibition," June 29–September 1, 1986, no. 1.

    New York. National Academy of Design. "In Support of Liberty: European Paintings at the 1883 Pedestal Fund Art Loan Exhibition," September 18–December 7, 1986, no. 1.

    Amsterdam. Van Gogh Museum. "Theo van Gogh," June 24–September 5, 1999, no. 2.

    Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "Theo van Gogh: Marchand de tableaux, collectionneur, frère de Vincent," September 27, 1999–January 9, 2000, no. 2.

    New York. Dahesh Museum of Art. "Charles Bargue: The Art of Drawing," November 25, 2003–February 8, 2004, no. 33.

  • References

    The Art Treasures of America. reprint, 1977. New York, 1879, vol. 1, p. 134.

    Montezuma [Montague Marks]. "My Note Book." Art Amateur 16 (May 1887), p. 122.

    Mrs. Schuyler van Rensselaer. "The Wolfe Collection. News and Notes." Independent 39 (December 1, 1887), p. 7, calls it "truly marvelous, an absolutely perfect piece of work in its own way".

    Walter Rowlands. "The Miss Wolfe Collection." Art Journal, n.s., (January 1889), p. 14, considers its brushwork superior to that of Gérôme.

    Sophia Antoinette Walker. "Fine Arts: The Painting Master in the Wolfe Collection." Independent 46 (August 2, 1894), p. 12, erroneously states that it was purchased at the artist's posthumous sale.

    "The Metropolitan Museum of Art—The French Painters." New York Times (May 22, 1895), p. 4.

    Arthur Hoeber. The Treasures of The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York. New York, 1899, pp. 81–82.

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, p. 169, ill.

    Anne Poulet in "Turquerie." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 26 (January 1968), p. 237, fig. 67.

    Gerald M. Ackerman in The Other Nineteenth Century: Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Tanenbaum. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1978, p. 40, notes that Bargue painted several images of single Bashi-Bazouks, including one in the Tanenbaum collection (Sotheby's, New York, May 5, 1999, no. 229, bought in); observes that the anatomy of the figure in our painting is convincing even though it is distorted; states that the Bashi-Bazouks "were irregular troops attached to the Ottoman army, . . . much feared for their ferocity . . . who could dress as they pleased—usually gaudily".

    Donald A. Rosenthal. Orientalism: The Near East in French Painting 1800–1880. Exh. cat., Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. Rochester, N.Y., 1982, pp. 78, 82–83, 160, no. 3, fig. 78.

    Maureen C. O'Brien in Maureen C. O'Brien. In Support of Liberty: European Paintings at the 1883 Pedestal Fund Art Loan Exhibition. Exh. cat., Parrish Art Museum. Southampton, N.Y., 1986, pp. 24, 32, 95, 130, no. 1, ill. p. 130 and colorpl. I, remarks that it was one of the few Orientalist subjects in the 1883 exhibition.

    Mahonri Sharp Young. "Letter from the USA: The Pedestal." Apollo 124 (July 1986), p. 51, fig. 4.

    The Forbes Magazine Collection of Orientalist Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors and Sculpture. Christie's, New York. October 14, 1993, p. 126, under no. 255, reproduces a replica of our painting, dated 1878, attributed to Bargue.

    Richard Thomson in Theo van Gogh: Marchand de tableaux, collectionneur, frère de Vincent. Exh. cat., Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Paris, 1999, pp. 74, 76, 209, no. 2, colorpl. 62, erroneously states that it was "G 16637" in the Bargue studio sale and was bought by Boulevard Montmartre (Theo van Gogh) for Fr 50 on June 1, 1883 and sold by him on October 16 for Fr 600 to Desfossés.

    Belinda Thomson. "Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum: Theo van Gogh." Burlington Magazine 141 (September 1999), p. 567, fig. 63.

    Gerald M. Ackerman. Charles Bargue, with the Collaboration of Jean-Léon Gérôme:Drawing Course. Exh. cat., Dahesh Museum of Art, New York. Paris, 2003, pp. 275–76, 296–97, no. 33, ill. (color), mentions two copies of this painting (see Ref. Christie's 1993; Sotheby's, London, May 1, 2002, no. 330, sold as by C. Baird, and dated 1807) and a pencil study for the model's right arm (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).

    19th Century European Art. Christie's, New York. October 27, 2004, p. 44, under no. 40, fig. 1, catalogues a study for this painting, also signed and dated 1875 [withdrawn from the sale].

  • Notes

    Two signed replicas of this painting, one dated 1878 and the other 1875, have appeared in Christie's, New York sales as studies for the MMA painting (October 14, 1993, no. 255 and October 27, 2004, no. 40). Another version, attributed to C. Baird and dated 1807, was sold at Sotheby's, London, May 1, 2002, no. 330.

    A pencil study for the right arm of the model is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History