The Woman in a Turban known as The Sultan’s Wife
La femme au turban dite La Sultane [The Woman in a Turban known as The Sultan’s Wife]
The loosely wound red turban emphasises the oval shape of the face, and the feather fan is held in a graceful pose. These two accessories hint at a fanciful oriental dress that could be obtained from those - like Adrien Dauzats or Monsieur Auguste – who had travelled to North Africa to the Middle East. Fancy dress was one of the delights of the pleasure seeking society that young artists frequented in the years of Romanticism. The very low neckline, the calm look that turns away for instant with an amused half smile, as if asking for the spectator’s complicity, hints at the painter’s close friendship with his model.
This brilliant work is an example of “studio Orientalism”, a style of Exoticism, which, even more than during the two preceding centuries, attracted public approval, and revived the inspiration of painters.