A newly discovered version of Eugene Delacroix’s Orientalist masterpiece, “Women of Algiers” went on display for the first time in Paris on Thursday.
The lost study for the painting by the French Romantic painter which inspired generations of artists including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cezanne was discovered in a Paris apartment 18 months ago.
Since then experts have been retracing its history and carrying out X-ray and infra-red tests on the picture.
Like the much larger version in the Louvre, it shows a reclining wealthy woman and a black servant.
The canvass disappeared after it was sold in 1850 by the French diplomat Charles-Edgar de Mornay, with whom the painter went to North Africa in 1831, shortly after the French conquest of Algeria.
Delacroix, who was brought up by Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, known as Talleyrand — one of the most famous diplomats in European history — and was introduced to de Mornay by the ambassador’s official mistress, the actress Mademoiselle Mars.
– Huge interest from museums –
De Mornay also bought the monumental version in the Louvre as well as another scene of women in Algiers now in the Fabre Museum in Montpellier, to which Van Gogh and Gauguin made a pilgrimage to see in 1888.
The Mendes Gallery in Paris, where the “Women of Algiers” study is now on show, said there had been huge interest already in the painting from museums and collectors.
It said that the Montpellier version was thought to be lot number 118 in the de Mornay sale, but a stencil of that number was found on the back of the newly discovered canvass.
Gallerist Philippe Mendes discovered the work in the Parisian apartment of a female collector.
It was later authenticated by Delacroix expert Virginie Cauchi-Fatiga, who believes it was probably painted in 1833 or 1834, a few months before the artist presented his masterpiece at the Paris Salon.
Mendes said the painting, which will be shown shortly “outside Europe” after its Paris show ends on July 11, allows us to see “an essential marker in the long gestation of… this mythic painting”.
This “major discovery” comes a week before a “lost” Caravaggio will go under the hammer in Toulouse in southwest France, the city where it had laid under an old mattress in an attic for 100 years.
Auctioneers estimate that the grisly biblical scene, “Judith and Holofernes”, should sell for between 100 and 150 million euros (up to $170 million).
Some Italian experts, however, suspect the canvass is a copy made at the same time as the fiery Milanese artist painted it.
Israel unearths remains of rare ancient mosque
Israeli archaeologists said Thursday they had unearthed the remains of a rare ancient rural mosque from the seventh and eighth centuries AD in the country's south.
The remains were discovered during preparations to construct a new building in the Bedouin town of Rahat, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.
It said the remains were of an open-air rectangular mosque with a mihrab, or prayer niche, facing Mecca.
The authority called it one of the earliest known rural mosques worldwide.
"From this period there are large known mosques in Jerusalem and in Mecca, but here we have evidence of an ancient house of prayer, which seems to have served the farmers who lived in the area," the authority said in a statement from the excavations' directors, Jon Seligman and Shahar Zur.
Meghan McCain feels victimized by Trump’s attacks on Omar: ‘You’re taking away my agency to criticize her’
Meghan McCain found a way to make herself the victim of President Donald Trump's racist screed against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
The president has been telling the Minnesota Democrat to return to her home country Somalia, which she fled as a refugee at 10, and accused her of supporting al-Qaeda as his supporters chanted "send her back" at a North Carolina rally.
"It was really dystopian," McCain said. "I was trying to go out to dinner and ignore politics. My family is in town, and came home and saw it on Twitter and then saw it on TV, and look."
After news of Trump's racist rant spoiled her evening out with relatives, McCain said she realized that his remarks had robbed her of something else.
‘He’s lost his mind’: Lindsey Graham’s latest defense of Trump’s racist attacks leaves Americans sick to their stomach
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was dragged over the coals on Thursday morning for defending Donald Trump's increasingly racist attacks on Somalia-born Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) saying it was "love it or leave it" 1968 politics having nothing to do with race.
Speaking with reporters the morning after Trump incited rallygoers to chant "send her back" after he launched an ugly attack on the Democratic lawmakers, Graham said the president couldn't be a racist because he would never encourage the repatriation of a Somali immigrant if they were wearing a MAGA hat.
Graham's glib defense outraged Twitter users who had already thought the conservative senator had hit rock bottom when it came to defending the president.