Alphonse Mielich 

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Biography of Alphonse Mielich  ( 1863-1929 )

Predestined to be a professionnal soldier, Alfonse Mielich has been lieutenant in the artillery of the Austrian army until 1887, before being discharged soldier for health reasons. After that he totally changed his orientation to devote himself to his lifelong passion : painting.

Alfonse Mielich took lessons with Anton Schrodl, but once again, his poor health forced him to withdraw from this apprenticeship. His doctor even recommended him to stay in Egypt during the winter 1888. This stay is going to be crucial for his career. The artist succumbed to the charm of Egypt and decided to devote his painting to Orientalist scenes.

From 1889 to 1892, Mielich settled in Paris, where he built his painting’s own style with a particular touch. During this Parisian stay, he was a part of a few exhibitions, including in the « Maison des Artistes ». He met with success in Vienna, when the Emperor François Joseph and his Minister for Education bought him several paintings.

In 1901, he travelled to Jerusalem and Jordan on behalf of the Austrian Academy of Science, in compagny with Alois Musil the famous Czech explorer and writer, specialist of the Middle East. The Academy of Science sent Mielich on mission to paint the palaces of the Umayyades in the desert of Arabia.

Back home, the painter settled in Vienna but regularly returned to Egypt. In 1912, he moved in Switzerland and while his health was going worse he decided to go back to Salzbourg, his fathers’s city. In his last years, he was not able to paint anymore, because his mobility was too much reduced by illness.

Mielich was an autodidact artist, and this can be seen in his singular and personal touch. His pictures are characterized by the help of a chromatic range both rich and voluptuous and sometimes a complete dissolution of his colors.

His artworks deployed the entire range of Orientalist painting : sketchs, historical works realised during his journeys with Alois Musil, touristic views or more conventional scenes of genre. However, his concern of realism spared him from the pitfall of picturesque and put him as one of the greatest Orientalist painters of his time.

In this painting, the artist revealed us a scene that can be located in Cairo, in the distric of Haret El Yahoud. Here, Mielich showed a great virtuosity and the attention carried on details gave a vibrant realism to the scene. The costumes are faithfully represented by the artist. In this way, the carpet dealer is dressed with a black gandoura and is wearing an oriental red tarbouche on his head. As for the two buyers, they are also wearing loose gandouras with bleu and pale pink tones. The technic of the painter is very fine and revealed a great precision in the representations of the faces expressions and eyes exchanges.

The carpets with rich and varied colors are giving rythm to the composition and guiding the eye between the three persons. Red and bleu colors of theses hand-woven carpets are creating a strong contrast with the brown-green tones of the walls and the pale colors of the costumes.

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