'Desert Bedouin', Spanish Orientalist painting by Ortega

By Ortega, José (Spanish, 1877-1955)


This vibrant, sketchily painted portrayal of a desert caravan is by José Ortega, a Spanish artist who lived and worked in Algeria during the early 20th Century.


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This fine painting depicts a busy desert scene: four Bedouin on camelback, accompanied by a handful of other figures walking, traverse a desert landscape with lambs, hens, and a herd of goats. The picture is tightly cropped, granting the composition an immediacy, and the painterly manner is fluid and cursory, giving the work a sketchy, observed-in-real-life impression. The colour palette, suffused with flushed pinks and oranges, indicates dawn or dusk, thus the party is perhaps departing from or arriving at a caravanserai.

The painting is by José Ortega, an accomplished Spanish artist of Orientalist scenes. Ortega, who was born in 1877, studied at the Beaux-Arts Academie in Algiers, where he was a student of Hippolyte Dubois. Ortega subsequently studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris, but soon returned to Algeria, which is the site of many of his most successful works.

The oil on board painting is contained within a gilt-edged wooden frame, and is signed lower left 'J. Ortega'.

Frame: Height 51cm, width 59cm, depth 2cm
Board: Height 44cm, width 53cm, depth 0.5cm


Artist / Maker
By Ortega, José (Spanish, 1877-1955)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 20th Century
Early 20th Century
Figurative Art, Orientalist
Oil on Board, Wood


51 cm / 20.1 inches
59 cm / 23.2 inches
2 cm / 0.8 inches


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