Charles-Théodore Frère (French, 1814–1885)
Philae Temple, Nile River, Egypt
Oil on panel, 7 1/2 x 11 7/8 in.
Signed lower left: TH. FRÈRE
The Dahesh Museum of Art is pleased to announce the acquisition of its fifth work by Frère, one of the earliest and most popular French Orientalist artists of the 19th century. Here Frère depicts Philae in Egypt, a popular Orientalist subject that is also represented in the Museum’s collection by Hermann- Salomon Corrodi (Campfire by the River: Kiosk of Trajan at Philae), and Frederick Bridgman (Cleopatra on the Terraces of Philae, 1896).
For this work, Frère has chosen a distant view of the island of Philae providing the viewer with the temple of Isis, and to its left the Kiosk of Trajan (“Pharaoh’s Bed”), which was particularly appealing to Orientalists. The construction of the Aswan High Dam (1960–1970) would have submerged the island, and during the 1970’s, the ensemble of temples were moved to the nearby island of Agilkia, near Aswan, a tourist destination that continues to inspire marvel to this day.