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Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey

Turkey (1842 -  1910 )
HAMDY BEY Osman Pacha Zadeh The Yellow Dress

Nov 16, 2005
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Variants on Artist's name :

Hamdi Bey Osman


Artworks in Arcadja

Some works of Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey

Extracted between 8 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey -  An Ottoman Butcher

Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey - An Ottoman Butcher

Original 1878


Gross Price
Lot number: 69
Osman Hamdi Bey (Turkish, 1842-1910) An Ottoman butcher signed and dated 'OHamdy 1878.' (upper left) oil on panel 20 x 15¾ in. (51 x 40 cm.) Painted in 1878.
Acquired by the present owner in the 1960s.
Osman Hamdi Bey was the most important Turkish artist of the 19th century to work in the western tradition. He trained in Paris under Jean-Léon Gérôme and upon his return to Turkey fulfilled various cultural positions before instituting and becoming the Director of the Academy of Fine Arts. Married to a French woman, he became close friends with the Italian artist Fausto Zonaro (see lot 70).

Hamdi Bey's paintings are typically rendered with a realism born from native experience, and which have little of the drama or voyeurism associated with western artists working in the genre. The everyday subject of the present work is unusual in its humble subject matter, but the tableau it presents is sympathetic. The artist presents his sitter as a man of some status, taking pride in a skilled job well done.

An architectural painting in oil of the same subject, but without the inclusion of the figure or the goat, is illustrated in M. Cezar, Sanatta Bati'ya Açilis ve Osman Hamdi, Istanbul, 1995, p. 663.
Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey - A Lady Of Constantinople

Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey - A Lady Of Constantinople

Original 1881


Gross Price
Lot number: 100
185 by 109cm., 73 by 43in.
signed and dated
Hamdy Bey. '81
upper left
oil on canvas
As the first Turkish artist to adopt an academic, Europeanstyle, Osman Hamdy Bey created paintings that eloquently combinedthe subjects and techniques of two distinctly different worlds.This is nowhere more evident than in his monumental masterpiece
A Lady of Constantinople,
in which an alluring brunettewoman wears a costume that reflects both traditional Turkish valuesand the latest Parisian fashions.
After the visit of Empress Eugénie to Constantinople in 1869,women's costume in that city changed dramatically. French fashionmagazines were widely circulated – even within the harem - anddresses were ordered directly from Paris or commissioned fromseamstresses in Pera, in emulation of the styles. As elements ofEuropean fashion were selectively adopted and combined withtraditional Turkish dress, a hybrid style emerged – one that didnot conform to the exotic imaginings of European artists andtravellers.
Rather than ignoring this sartorial shift, as mostnineteenth-century Orientalist painters did, Osman Hamdy Beytransformed it into an elegant and attractive genre. His images ofTurkish women represent the actualities of indoor and outdoor dressin Constantinople, and do so in spectacularly beautiful fashion.But Hamdy Bey's pictures are not merely picturesque records offact. In their intensive examination of changing fashion trends andtheir persistent focus on the physical and intellectual libertiesthat women enjoyed, they are profoundly political documents. Eachpicture represents an attempt by the artist to reverse Europeanassumptions about the cloistering of Ottoman women within theprivate sphere, and the stagnant or even 'backward' nature ofIslamic society. Indeed, on the occasion of the InternationalExhibition in Vienna in 1873, Hamdy Bey contributed texts to aphotographic Ottoman costume book that made this point explicitly(see
Les Costumes populaires de la Turquie en 1873
,Constantinople, 1873).
The girl in the present work looks out at the viewer from behindher diaphanous
(a veil comprised of two pieces offabric). The sheerness of the
was a recent trend inConstantinople, inspired by the bared visages of European women inpublic. Although clearly set indoors, it appears that the womanwears a tailored
(outdoor coat) as well, over her
. The frothy lace cuffs echo contemporary Parisianfashions, but the dark colour suggests a lingering conservatism, alevel of maturity, and an attachment to traditional Turkish attire.As one contemporary traveller to Constantinople had observed: 'The
.[sic] . . . of the wealthy are of fine cloth orsilk, the younger and more fashionable ladies affecting light tintssuch as pink or lilac, often with trimmings of lace on therectangular cape, and the elderly ladies more sober tints' (LucyGarnett,
The Women of Turkey and their Folklore
, London,1890-1, I, pp. 429-30). Although Hamdy Bey would often depict thismore colourful attire (fig. 1), here he reserves the sparkle forthe damask curtain against which the woman stands. Its goldensurface is adorned with a design based on a sixteenth-centuryOttoman brocade pattern, though its scale and colour suggest it isa nineteenth-century fabric that could be either Turkish orItalian.
The model for this work reappears in another of Hamdy Bey'spictures from 1881 (fig. 2), attesting to his practice of usingonly a small number of sitters, most of whom he knew intimately.The richly patterned Kazak rug, from West Causasus and roughlycontemporary with the date of the painting, finds its way intoother compositions as well, and may have been drawn from theartist's own expansive collection. Unique to this picture, however,are the many visual and intellectual tensions that it contains.There is the outdoor dress of the woman – a curious fusion of oldand new; there is the indoor setting – where such attire would seemout-of-place; and there is the unexpected inclusion of some of themost recognized conventions of European harem painting – with theirornate interiors, exotic patterns and fetching glances - in aproudly Turkish work.
A bureaucrat, archaeologist, museum director, architect, poet,writer, and musician, as well as one of Orientalism's mostsuccessful practitioners, Hamdy Bey dominated Turkish cultural lifeduring the second half of the nineteenth century (fig. 3). HamdyBey's artistic studies began in Paris in 1860-1, under thesupervision of Gustave Boulanger and possibly Jean-Léon Gérôme.Upon his return to Constantinople twelve years later, and afterseveral positions in the Ottoman bureaucracy, Hamdy Bey wasappointed Director of the Imperial Ottoman Museum in 1881 – thesame year that the present work was painted. Soon after, he foundedthe Academy of Fine Arts (the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts)and initiated the short-lived Stamboul Salons, to which Turkish andEuropean painters were invited to contribute.
This catalogue note was written by Dr. Emily M. Weeks.
FIG. 1, Osman Hamdy Bey,
Feraceli Kadinlar
, 1887, oil oncanvas, 81 by 131cm., Yapi Kredi Painting Collection, Istanbul
FIG. 2,
Women at the Steps
, 1881, from Mustafa Cezar,
Sanatta Bati'ya Açilis ve Osman Hamdi
, 2 vols., Istanbul,1995
FIG. 3, Photograph of Osman Hamdy Bey at work, from MustafaCezar,
Sanatta Bati'ya Açilis ve Osman Hamdi
, 2 vols.,Istanbul, 1995
Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey - Butcher Outside A Doorway

Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey - Butcher Outside A Doorway

Original 1878


Lot number: 219
TURKISH, 1842-1910
120,000—150,000 GBP
51 by 40cm., 20 by 15 3/4 in.
signed and dated OHamdy 1878 u.l.
oil on panel

Acquired by the present owner in the 1960s

Although Hamdy Bey became best known for painting mosque and house interiors (see lot 230), this was not to the exclusion of more humble scenes of everyday street life. In this newly discovered work, he depicts a halal butcher, proudly admiring the carcass of a prize goat.
Halal derives from the Arabic word for 'allowed'. It is the orthodox method of slaughtering and preparing meat as stipulated by shari'a (Islamic religious law).
An oil study for this work, also dated 1878 and depicting the same gate but without a figure, is illustrated in Mustafa Cezar, Sanatta Bati'ya Açilis ve Osman, Istanbul, 1995, p. 663 (fig. 1).
Fig 1. Osman Hamdy Bey, The Worn Gate, Osman Kerman collection
Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey - The Yellow Dress

Osman Pacha Zadeh Hamdy Bey - The Yellow Dress

Original 1881


Lot number: 230
TURKISH, 1842-1910
600,000—800,000 GBP
61 by 40cm., 24 by 15 3/4 in.
signed and dated Hamdy Bey / f. 1881 c.l.
oil on canvas

Mustafa Cezar, Sanatta Bati\’\’ya Açilis ve Osman Hamdi, Istanbul, 1995, p. 762, titled Çarsaflanan Kadinlar, illustrated in colour

The Yellow Dress is a masterful blend of western academic painting and eastern sensibility.
Hamdy Bey was the first Turkish painter fully to embrace the western style of painting, and in terms of its representational finesse the present work bears all the hallmarks of his training in Paris under Jean-Léon Gérôme. Yet certain subtle compositional details set Hamdy Bey apart from his French contemporaries and the western Orientalist tradition in general. In contrast to their often staged or imagined compositions, focusing on the sensational, the overtly exotic, the extreme, Hamdy Bey's pictures are painted from the point of view of someone who had grown up in Constantinople. His pictures convey a remarkable sense of modesty and informality, and a very much truer impression of what life in Constantinople was actually like.
The Yellow Dress is a case in point. While loosely conforming to the 'Orientalist' genre, it counters the expectations of the nineteenth-century western viewer. Women were often portrayed to promulgate Europeans' pre-conceived romantic notions of the East: as overtly kept women or as racy and sultry nudes in exotic-looking harems. By contrast, Hamdy Bey's paintings of women are delicately understated, and set in the modern world. Here, a virtuous young girl regards herself in a looking glass as she gets dressed to go out, her maid in attendance. Other than that she is of the privileged classes and well to do, her identity is unknown. She might even be one of the Sultan's favourites, but if so and if the elegant boudoir is part of the Sultan's palace, it is not obvious.
Hamdy Bey was more interested in capturing the fashions and mores of his day, which he did with painstaking detail and accuracy. The interior in The Yellow Dress is not a romanticised figment of the imagination, but decorated in the French rococo style fashionable in Constantinople by the 1870s, complete with parquet flooring and the latest printed silk upholstery. The dress fashion, too, is revealing about changing tastes among Turkish women at the time. French fashions were beginning to replace traditional Ottoman costumes, although the translucent veil, or yashmak, was still worn in public. Here, the girl in the yellow dress is seen tying hers, her maid holding out in readiness the black kaftan worn over the dress.
Nor is the calligraphic panel or levha hanging on the wall a random prop. Overlapping inscriptions, this one invoking Allah - Tawakkaltu bi-maghfirat al-Muhaymin: Huwa al-Ghafur Dhu al-Rahmah ('I have placed my trust in the forgiveness of the Protector: He is the Indulgent Merciful One') - were particularly popular in nineteenth-century Turkey, and were a way of demonstrating a calligrapher's virtuosity. Hamdy Bey, a renowned archaeologist and museologist, would have taken particular interest in levha panels, which are used to decorative effect in, for example, the Great Mosque at Bursa and the Eski Cami at Edirne, and in the tomb of Cem Sultan at Bursa, all of which were substantially re-decorated in the mid nineteenth century.
In Girl Arranging Flowers (fig. 1), also of 1881, the same model wearing the same dress is seen kneeling on a similarly upholstered blue silk sofa to reach a vase of flowers on a wall bracket, while another painting, again from the same year, and sold in these rooms in 1995 (fig. 2), shows a girl fully dressed in a black kaftan and yashmak.
Fig. 1, Osman Hamdy Bey, Girl Arranging Flowers, 1881, Istanbul Resim ve Heykel Müzesi
Fig. 2, Osman Hamdy Bey, Portrait of a Lady, 1881, sold: Sotheby's, London, 14 June 1995, for £524,000
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