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Maker(s):Delacroix, Eugène
Culture:French (1798-1863)
Title:Juive d'Alger (The Jewish Woman of Algiers)
Date Made:1833, published 1868
Materials:etching on cream-colored laid paper
Measurements:Overall: 21 9/16 in x 13 11/16 in; 54.8 cm x 34.8 cm; Plate: 8 7/16 in x 6 7/8 in; 21.4 cm x 17.5 cm; Image: 8 7/8 in x 6 1/16 in; 22.5 cm x 15.4 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2008.31
Credit Line:Purchase with the Samuel B. Cummings (Class of 1926) Art Fund
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
Traditionally titled The Jewish Woman of Algiers (“Juive d'Alger”), after the phrasing used for the artist’s estate sale, this etching actually shows a scene Delacroix observed in Tangier, which he visited in 1832 as part of a goodwill mission sent by King Louis-Philippe of France to the Sultan of Morocco, Abd-er-Rahman II, led by the artist’s friend the count Charles de Mornay.

The dragoman (interpreter and guide) assigned to the French delegation, Abraham Ben-Chimol, invited Delacroix to attend the wedding of his daughter Préciada, the young woman shown here wearing traditional bridal attire. (Her bare feet reflect a law that prohibited Jews from wearing shoes in public.) Delacroix vividly described his impressions of the wedding in his journal. His interest focused on the—to him—exotic appearance of the costumes and ceremony, details he could adapt in Orientalist paintings on his return to France. He recorded little biographical information about the sitter and her companion, whose position in the composition suggests she is a servant, and whose slippers and head scarf indicate she is a Muslim.

First published in 1833, Amherst’s impression of the etching dates to July 1865, when the print was reissued by the Society of Aqua-Fortises, a key organization of the French Etching Revival movement that sought to disseminate high-quality etchings by leading French artists. To give this crisply printed sheet the appearance of a proof impression, the publisher has hidden the lettering found on earlier plates.

narrative; figures; headdresses; portraits; domestic space; women; Jewish; religion

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