Etienne Dinet

Etienne Dinet
Etienne Dinet

Biography of Etienne Dinet ( 1861-1929 )

Alphonse-Étienne Dinet was born in 1861 in Paris in a bourgeois family from Loiret. He was a very successful student at the School of Fine Arts in Paris. In 1884, he was awarded a medal and a grant at the Salon des Arts Plastiques at the Palais de l'Industrie.

He left for Algeria, a country he already visited in 1883 and made a great journey to Ouargla and Laghouat. The discovery of the country profoundly changed the life of Dinet. On his return to Paris in 1889, he presented at the Universal Exhibition a series of paintings made in Bou-Saâda and won a silver medal. 

Astonished by the magnificence of southern Algeria, he moved in 1905 to Bou-Saâda, his second homeland, to live there permanently. Fluent in Arabic - he learned Arabic in Paris with his friend the orientalist Paul Leroy - Dinet discovered the local life thanks to Sliman Ben Ibrahim whom he met in 1889. Together, they travelled the desert, and Dinet became familiar with the nomadic and Bedouin tribes, discovering the Berber traditions. He converted to Islam in 1913, becoming Nasr-Ed-Dine Dini, then Hajj-Nasr-Ed-Dine Dini in 1929, after his pilgrimage to Mecca.

He exhibited at the Colonial Exhibitions in 1906 and 1922 and took part in the Salons of Algiers. He left the French Artists Salon, but contributed regularly to the Salons of the Orientalist Painting Society where he was an important member.

After the First World War, his technique relaxed, with acidic, pink, turquoise, mauve and blue colors. Dinet was little appreciated in France at this time, where his style was judged too academic, but the French of Algeria continued to like his work.

Dinet died on December 24th in Paris. The funeral was celebrated at the Mosque of Paris, before the burial at Bou-Saâda, in the funeral kouba he built. Étienne Dinet is now among the most sought-after Orientalist painters.

32 avenue Marceau
75008 Paris, France
Monday to Friday from 10am to 7pm
Saturdays from 2 to 7 p.m.
NEWSLETTER: If you would like to receive our newsletter, please enter your email address: