La revue

As the exhibition Étienne Dinet, passions algériennes welcomes visitors at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) until June 4, Aguttes will present a previously unseen painting by the artist at the Impressionist and Modern Art auction on June 12 in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Étienne Dinet was born in 1861 into a family of Parisian attorneys who encouraged his drawing practice and did not forbid him from enrolling at the École des Beaux-Arts. At the Académie Julian, he studied under William Bouguereau but, reacting against his master's academicism, he sought his models among the old masters and realist or naturalist painters, such as Jean-François Millet or Jules Bastien-Lepage.

Dinet first visited Algeria in 1884, accompanied by the painter Lucien Simon, then again in 1885 with Gaston Migeon, the future promoter of Islamic arts at the Louvre Museum. This was followed by two decades during which Étienne Dinet spent his winters in France and his summers in the Sahara. From 1895 onwards, he only painted Algerian subjects, and from 1904, he settled permanently in Bou-Saâda. There, he used his influence to advocate for the local populations. For example, in 1912, he fought hard with the General Government of Algiers to ensure that this oasis, the closest to the Algerian coast, transitioned from military to civilian administration.

Our painting, entitled Tempête de sable, was painted in 1903. It is the modello - or the ricordo - of a large composition that was exhibited at the Salon des peintres orientalistes français in 1904 and is now only known through reproductions in Mirages (1906) and Tableaux de la vie arabe (1908 and 1922). Contrary to conventional Orientalism, the painting depicts the dramatic vision of a group of women accompanied by a child struggling with the fierce simoum, a wind whose temperature can exceed 50°C and humidity can drop below 10%, making it particularly drying. This wind also fills the air with dust and sand, giving it a reddish, bluish, or yellowish hue, depending on the nature of the soil, and forcing those who encounter it to cover themselves. From a visual perspective, Dinet opts for a tight framing that reserves a large part for the landscape disrupted by the elements. To accentuate the pathos of the scene, he associates it with a palette of contrasting tones that realistically depict the sand whipping faces and the heat oppressing bodies.

A heartened Algerian, Étienne Dinet is one of the few Orientalist painters to have escaped the accusation of exoticism and the trial of the colonial gaze on the East. His painted work - which reflects his passion for a country whose land, cause, and faith he embraced in 1913 - even became one of the visual identities of post-independence Algeria.

ÉTIENNE DINET (1861-1929)
Tempête de sable
, 1903
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated ‘[19]03’ bottom lef
50 x 40 cm

Private collection, France (acquired directly from the artist and then passed down through descent)

Exposition É. Dinet
, Paris, Galerie Arts d’aujourd’hui, Jean de Ruaz, 8-23 mai 1942, n°4 (titré Femmes sous le sirocco)

Related work
Étienne Dinet (1861 - 1929), Tempête de sable, huile sur toile, signée et datée ‘[19]03' en bas à gauche, dim. inc., loc. inc., ancienne collection Miss Cushing, exposé au Salon des peintres orientalistes français, Paris, 1904; reproduit et décrit dans Koudir Benchikou, La vie et l'œuvre d'Étienne Dinet, Courbevoie : ACR Édition, 1984, n°121, p. 189

Next Impressionist & Modern Art auction
Wednesday, June 12, 2024 at 3PM

Upcoming Impressionist & Modern Art auction in preparation
Tuesday, July 16, 2024

For any further information or to include a lot in our upcoming auctions, please contact:
Pierre-Alban Vinquant
+33 (0)1 47 45 08 20 -