The Beach inside Glensheen

Chabas Painting in Glensheen

A friend of mine will be walking the beach tomorrow, as she does often, working a wildlife survey. I don’t much like the beach; I am a city kid whose feet feel most at home on cement.

But thinking of the beach reminds me of this painting, in Glensheen. My colleague Jennifer Webb had this to say about the painting of an Algerian beach in our hidden gem of art, Glensheen.

Two paintings that depict Algeria hang in Glensheen; both The Oasis at Biskra by Albert G. Rigolet and Passage de L’Ouet by Paul E. J. Chabas were purchased from a Paris dealer in 1905, the latter for 20,000 francs (Fig. 6).49 They capture the light and heat of a North African landscape and unlike many of the paintings in the Congdon collection, the Chabas piece-which hangs in the dining room-includes a number of figures, dressed in native costume, walking away from the viewer. These paintings, when considered alongside the lamps from Egypt and the Persian vases in the living room, are illustrative of the lure of the more exotic and a lingering orientalist taste. In Chester’s journals he expresses a curiosity about how other peoples live.

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