Arab and Camel

Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848–1933)
1873
Currently on view
MediumWatercolor and pastel on paper
Dimensions10 1/4 × 15 3/8 inches
CreditGift of the Estate of Miss Sarah Williams, 1944
Accession Number44.99b

Stained-glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany started his career as a painter. Initially self-taught, the younger Tiffany studied with George Inness in 1866 and in 1868 under Parisian Orientalist Leon Belly.

This lively watercolor of an Arab on a running camel surrounded by clouds of kicked-up sand is part of an important 1944 bequest to the Museum of several oils and watercolors from Strawberryhill, the former home of John E. Williams in Irvington, New York.  L. C. Tiffany was closely connected to that Westchester community, where his father, Charles L. Tiffany, founder of the famous jewelry store, had a large Irvington estate not far from Williams. The bequest also includes oils and watercolors by R. Swain Gifford (1840–1905) and Samuel Colman (1832–1920).

Tiffany, along with Colman and Gifford, contributed to the growing interest in exotic Middle Eastern subject matter during the cosmopolitan art climate of the post-Civil War period.  The three traveled together to North Africa in 1870, producing numerous studies to fuel later finished works. Focusing on everyday street and desert scenes rather than the standard monuments.