Sphinx Fine Art
Auguste Boppe, in his Les Peintres du Bosphore, considered Hilair to be the artist who best understood the Levant amongst the early Orientalists. As already mentioned he was trained by Le Prince, and although the present work reflects his teacher’s influence, especially its concern with conveying an exotic and alien culture, it is unquestionably in Hilair’s distinctive style. This is particularly evident in details such as Hilair’s treatment of trees, where the thin, sinuous branches can be seen both in this Turkish work, and his painting from his French period, such as the Louvre’s La Lecture.
Hilair’s illustrations to Voyage Pittoresque de la Grèce, contributed to the book’s huge success, and so when the Comte later became the French ambassador in Istanbul, he continued to employ Hilair. He also contributed illustrations for Tableai General de l’Empire Ottoman, by the Armenian Mouradgea D’Ohsson, and as Gaston Migeon has written, his work demonstrates a devotion to accuracy in addition to an unusual sensitivity to the beauties of the East.