Edwin Lord Weeks (American, 18491903)
An Egyptian Water Carrier, 1870
Oil on panel, 18 x 12 1/2 in.

Weeks was one of the many American artists who studied in Paris, where he worked under both Jean-Léon Gérôme and Léon Bonnat, although he only referred to the latter as his teacher in the Salon catalogues that record his almost annual contributions between 1878 and 1900. The details of Weeks’s career are obscure, but before his arrival in Paris in the early 1870s he had already sought out exotic subjects, which is probably why he went to study with Gérôme and Bonnat. The date of this painting suggests that Weeks was in Egypt in 1870 (although Orientalist works were often painted “back home”); he may well have been avoiding the turmoil that plagued Paris during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). From the mid-1880s onward, Weeks focused mainly on scenes depicting India.