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    Description

    Germain Fabius Brest (French, 1823-1900)
    Kief sur la route de Kerrassunde à Amassia (Asie-Mineure)
    Oil on canvas
    14 x 23-1/2 inches (35.6 x 59.7 cm)
    Signed lower right: Fabius Brest.

    PROVENANCE:
    Lieutenant Colonel Felix and Marguerite McDavid of Orleans, France;
    Estate of the above;
    By descent to the present owner.

    A four-year sojourn in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) secured Fabius Brest's reputation as a preeminent Orientalist painter during the second half of the nineteenth century. Encouraged by his teacher in Marseille, Emile Loubon, who himself traveled to Palestine, Brest lived and painted in Constantinople, the surrounding countryside, and the Black Sea coast. His beautifully composed landscapes record exquisite mosques, houses of the Golden Horn and Trebizond, and activities along the banks of the Bosphorus--all usually set against a ravishing blue sky that became something of a trademark for the artist. The wealth of impressions and mysterious charm of the sites he visited continued to inspire his work for the rest of his career, notably in many of his ambitious Salon submissions throughout the 1860s and 1870s.

    This landscape with its bright red pavilion to the right belongs to a special series of kief paintings Brest produced as the result of his stay in Turkey. The Arabic word kief means having a sense of well-being or drowsy pleasure, and in Brest's paintings takes the form of groups of men relaxing in town or in country cafés. Kief also has associations with smoking a narcotic such as hemp leaves, which produces the sensation of contentment. The pavilion structures that figure prominently in Brest's kief paintings were spots where travelers could also doubtless enjoy a pleasurable smoke in addition to relaxing conversation. The present work is a smaller-scale preliminary version of Brest's monumental Kief sur la route de Kerrassunde à Amassia (Asie-Mineure), painted in 1863 and exhibited that same year at the Paris Salon, and subsequently at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition. (1) The composition, staffage, and fine details are quite close to the final version with the exception of a more developed distant landscape including a body of water, a shoreline, remote purple mountains and a white bank of clouds in the latter.

    (1) The Salon submission surfaced at Sotheby's, London, June 14, 2005, lot 90, and measured 39.76 x 65.75 in.




    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; there appears to be faint stretcher creases, visible in raking light; a few small areas of light craquelure; minor overall surface grime with a few possible accretions; frame wear with abrasions and flakes of loss, most notably in upper left and lower right edges; slight buckling of canvas in upper left corner and a restored tear to canvas below middle tree trunk in upper left quadrant; a few miniscule flakes of loss at center of work in tree foilage; under UV exam, there appears to be a few small dots of inpainting in center of work to address above mentioned flakes of loss; however, a discolored varnish layer makes this painting difficult to read. Framed Dimensions 24 X 3.75 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2015
    9th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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