Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 283

   ‒   
 .
Zarina, a Jewish Girl from Smyrna,
(Zarina, jødisk pige fra Smyrna)
Oil on canvas,
in. (
cm) (Oval)
       :
Bruun Rasmussen, Auction
, lot
, ill. p.
         :
Elisabeth Jerichau,
Brogede Rejsebilleder (Motley Travel Impressions),
, pp.
, ill. as a xylo-
executed by the author herself from her own painting.
his scintillating portrait, which almost seems as though it were painted with tar and
re, has a well-
documented provenance provided by the artist herself in a retrospective glimpse of her colourful life
in the books
Ungdomserindringer (Memories of Youth),
Brogede Rejsebilleder (Motley Travel Impressions)
published in
, the year she died.
This latter work relates a variety of curious experiences from two long visits to the Middle East and the
eastern and southern Mediterranean countries in
and again in
. Mrs. Jerichau visited
Turkey on each of these journeys; on the
rst occasion she went alone and on the second in the company
of her son Harald.
The book is illustrated with beautiful black and white xylographs executed after
sketches and paintings by the author herself or Harald Jerichau. (Fig. A.)
Brogede Rejsebilleder
she describes the meeting in Smyrna (present-day Izmir) with the young Zarina
and her family and provides an account of how the portrait of her came into being. The book also contains
nely executed woodcut of the same motif as the painting. (Fig. A.) After a spirited account of the arrival
and the
rst part of her sojourn in the hot, vibrant, alien city, Elisabeth Jerichau tells of her e
orts to achieve
permission to paint in a Jewish home.
In this respect, the dominant experience is that of her meeting Zarina’s parents, Madame P., her hus-
band, (a wholesale carpet dealer), and the couple’s countless family members who made up a very active
household. In intense, graphic language, she presents the astonished reader with pictures of the family’s life,
whether in their everyday activities or on festive occasions. The following passage is taken from the account
of how the Loeb collection portrait came into being. (Her writing is as lively and colorful as is her painting
It was a great favour thus to be accepted in this Jewish home; it was an even greater indulgence that
they allowed me to paint the family’s eldest daughter, a delightful
fteen-year-old girl. I have never
yet seen a more charming woman than this little friend of mine. It is scarcely possible to describe
her; but come and see her portrait—it enthrals everyone—I am almost jealous of it; for it is as
though the picture of this young Oriental girl with the tightly closed,
ne lips, the dark eyes shin-
ing like stars and wearing a tuberose in her dark hair, on which the bridal jewels have been placed,
eclipses all my other works. I could have sold it time and time again for an exorbitant price; but I
promised to make a replica for the mother, the only condition on which she would allow her daugh-
ter to be painted by me, and I have still not found time to copy it; indeed part of the bottom section
of the picture is still missing. I cling to it as though by magic, the same magic as it works on the
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