Cairo – Leather Merchants at Khan el Khalili Bazaar before Al-Azhar Mosque
by Alberto Rossi


GBP Pound Sterling

  • Country of origin: Italy

  • Medium: Oil on board

  • Signed: Signed, titled and dated lower left

  • Dated: 1914

  • Condition: Very good condition for age

  • Size: 14.00" x 18.50" (35.6cm x 47.0cm)

  • Framed Size: 20.00" x 24.50" (50.8cm x 62.2cm)

  • Provenance: Private UK collection

  • Literature: The Khan el Khalili bazaar is the oldest in Cairo and has been established for over 600 years. The Bazaar has a special area for leather production as seen in this work. In the background we can see the Al-Azhar Mosque which was the first constructed in Cairo in 970 A.D..

Artwork Biography

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Best known to the general public for his paintings of Orientalist subject matter executed during frequent trips to Egypt between 1891 and 1914, Alberto Rossi was a Piedmontese painter born in Turin who depicted and interpreted his subjects with a keen sense of color and descriptive precision. This attention to detail transforms his works from simple frescoes of daily life to a careful interpretation of the “real.” His painting Arab Market (1891, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea) demonstrates these realist tendencies. Following his travels throughout Turkey, Syria, and Palestine, Rossi spent several years living in Egypt. He exhibited work in Turin, Milan, and Venice.

Rossi studied with Giani, Sampietro, Gilardi, and, Enrico Gamba, and Andrea Gastaldi at the Accademia Albertina di Torino from 1878 to 1884. Just three years after his pictorial debut, his true introduction to the public took place on the occasion of the National Exhibition of Turin in 1884 with the landscapes At the Bottom of the Valley, Portrait of a Man, and The Miners. These works qualified Rossi as a mature artist who was fully aware of the social changes taking place in the country; he placed himself among the intellectual elite dictating the taste at the time with the intent of portraying to them deliberately the world of work, of the poor, the dispossessed, the daily struggle to live, and the bitter and painful fate of the poorest workers. He sought to represent this glaring disparity using a new visual language the reflected on the socioeconomic situation at the time without diminishing it.

Museum and Gallery Holdings

Turin (Mus. Civico): Bazaar in Han Halib; Porto Corsini