Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (French, 1845–1902)
Seated Arabs, 1877
Oil on canvas, 9 x 13 in.
Signed and dated lower right: Benj. Constant 77
Benjamin-Constant’s Orientalist artworks range from violent genre and sumptuous harem scenes to street and market scenes, and include such portraits as the present work. Like many artists of the second half of the 19th century—Alfred Dehodencq, Georges Antoine Rochegrosse, and Auguste Renoir—Benjamin-Constant’s Romantic vision of the Orient reflected Eugène Delacroix’s considerable influence, specifically his rich palette and loose brushwork. The torpid atmosphere suffusing this small canvas is reminiscent of Delacroix’s famous, Women of Algiers, 1834 (Louvre).