Pair of Orientalist watercolour paintings by Hansen

By Hansen, Hans Jacob (British, 1853-1947)


Executed using a vibrant colour palette, the British painter depicted a serene and a lively scene full of people set in an Orientalist market hall.


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This wonderful pair of watercolour paintings was executed by the British artist, Hans Jacob Hansen (1853-1947) in around 1900.

Both paintings are set in the same building, possibly in Morocco or Algeria, however, each one depicts various places within it.

The first watercolour showcases a group of people, most likely males, sitting on rugs on either side of the arched entrance occupying the middle of the painting. All are dressed in traditional Orientalist clothing coloured in pastel shades of yellow, green, blue and red. In the centre is a female dancer, dressed in a long white skirt and black top with her hand raised above her head. She is performing in front of the audience, who are also playing for her. Some men are seen to be playing musical instruments such as drums.  The artist depicted limited architectural features of the space, however, the large windows and yellow lighting give an impactful look when paired with the pastel-coloured foreground. Past the entryway, one can observe a sea view.

The second piece depicts a busy market scene. Various stalls are set up with numerous types of fruits and vegetables rendered by Hansen in shades of yellow, red and green. Many people are wandering around the market stalls, all dressed similarly to those in the first watercolour. However, more vibrant shades of blue, yellow, and red are employed by the artist, giving this scene a livelier feel. The arched entrance reveals the silhouette of a mosque and greenery, while through the large window next to it one can see other buildings.

The paintings are signed in the lower right ‘Hans Hansen’. There are numerous labels on the reverse of both paintings, relating to the artist, the place they depict as well as the framer. Carved giltwood frames surround both watercolours.  

The pair complement each other and create a superb story of a place filled with dancers, shoppers, and buyers. Their Orientalist theme, high quality and vibrant colours make them a very desirable addition to one’s interior space.

Frame: Height 46cm, width 67cm, depth 3cm
Panel: Height 33cm, width 54cm


Artist / Maker
By Hansen, Hans Jacob (British, 1853-1947)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
c. 1900
Early 20th Century
Figurative Art, Genre, Music / Musical, Orientalist


46 cm / 18.1 inches
67 cm / 26.4 inches
3 cm / 1.2 inches


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