Description & Technical information

Orovida’s first series of imaginative works, executed in the 1920s and 30s, reflect her interest in non-Western art. This was largely fuelled by the fashion for Orientalism in fin-de-siècle France, but also by the works of Paul Gauguin and those of her uncle Georges Manzana Pissarro, particularly his solo show at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1914. Orovida was struck by her uncle’s Orientalist and Decorative portraits and his use of gold and silver. The flattening of the picture plane and the increasingly stylised treatment of her subjects would also have been influenced by exhibitions which she frequented in London, including a presentation on Persian art at Burlington house in 1930-31 as well as her numerous trips to the British Museum. To Orovida, non-Western art offered greater creative freedom, as she later wrote: ‘Western art has led straight to the photo and eastern art is still free.’ As a result, her early works often show subjects such as Mongolian horse-riders, African dancers, Persian princes and exotic animals executed in egg tempera and bodycolour which she made herself and applied in thin, delicate washes to silk, linen and paper sometimes embellished with brocade borders. Ironically, Orovida once famously stated in a newspaper interview that the furthest east she had ever travelled was the British Museum.

Date:  1937
Period:  20th century
Origin:  SPG
Medium: Egg tempera on linen laid on board
Signature: Signed and dated lower right Orovida 1937
Dimensions: 85 x 62.3 cm (33¹/₂ x 24¹/₂ inches)
Provenance: Redfern Gallery, London, August 1937
Collection of Mrs Tongo, from whence to:
Sotheby's, London,15th December 1965
Royal Academy, London 11th May 1966, no. 728
Reverend Canon Ernest A Bawtree, Cambridgeshire, England
Gillian Jason Gallery, London, acquired from the above, 8th November 1984
Christie's, London, 7th June 1985
Literature: K L Erickson, Orovida Pissarro: Painter and Print-Maker with A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, (doctoral thesis), Oxford, 1992, Appendices, no. 51, p. 56 (illustrated)
Exhibitions: London, Redfern Gallery, Summer Salon, 5th August - 25th September 1937, no. 12
London, Royal Academy, 1966, no. 728