Frederick Arthur Bridgman, (American, 1847–1928)
An Oriental Beauty
Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in.
Signed lower left: F. A. Bridgman
2012.16

Bridgman’s Oriental Beauty displays his familiarity with the Algerian women he saw and the outfits they wore, as he noted in his book Winters in Algiers (1888) “the height of fashion is to wear everything of the same color, for instance yellow head kerchief bordered with gold and silk fringe, yellow ribbons to ornament the thin chemise, yellow silk bodice, pantaloons of the same color, and yellow leather slipper.” Dressed in color-coordinated and fashionable dress, and adorned with opulent accessories, Bridgman’s beauty languidly reclines in a state of reverie, while her hand gently holds a flower, suggesting she may be dreaming of a lover — an Orientalist trope that catered to 19th-century Western viewers’ expectations.