Camels at the Watering-placeEnlarge image

Camels at the Watering-place, 1857

Jean-Léon Gérôme
French, 1824 - 1904
oil on paper, mounted on canvas
75 x 120 cm
Gift of Joey and Toby Tanenbaum, Toronto, 1978
National Gallery of Canada (no. 23218)

OLD - Gérôme's romanticized anecdotal scenes of life in the Orient were highly popular from the 1860s, and he continued to paint such subjects until his death in 1904. "Camels at the Watering Place" is among the earliest and least staged of Gérôme's "orientales", inspired by the artist's first trip to Egypt from July to October 1856 with Auguste Bartholdi, future sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, and two orientalist painters, Léon Belly and Narcisse Berchère. The work was one of a group of six Egyptian paintings Gérôme sent to the Salon of 1857, where the critic Théophile Gautier praised its Realist qualities of straightforward representation.

Additional Information 

Signed and dated at lower right: J.L. Gerome 1857


– 1876/03/18
Scharf Collection, Vienna, Austria [1]

In auction of “L.S. sale”, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 27 May 1911, lot 89 [2]

In auction of “English and Continental Narrative and Landscape Pictures c.1800 – c.1900.” London, Christie's, 12 July 1968, lot no. 117 [3]

Devlin Collection [4]

Charles Jerdein, London, UK and Shepherd Gallery, New York, United States (owned jointly) [5]

by 1973 – 1978
Joey (b.1933) and Toby Tanenbaum, Toronto, Canada, purchased from the Shepherd Gallery [6]

National Gallery of Canada, given by Joey and Toby Tanenbaum [7]


The main source for this provenance is Gerald M. Ackerman's catalogue raisonné, cat. no. 72 [Ackerman, Gerald M. "Jean-Léon Gérôme. Monographie révisée. Catalogue raisonné mis à jour." Paris: ACR Éditions 2000]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1]The painting was included in a saleat the Hôtel Drouot Paris on March 18, 1876, as "L'Abreuvoir" and sold for for 13,000 fr. [“Catalogue de 24 tableaux anciens & modernes et 2 aquarelles dependant de la collection de M. Scharf, de Vienne.” lot no.16, repr]. Slightly different dimensions were given (74 x 115 cm).

[2] Ackermann erroneously lists the painting in this sale as lot no. 87.

[3] The work was sold as At the Oasis for £472.10. The purchaser is recorded as Mr. or Ms. Devlin.

[5] According to Robert Kashey, the work was jointly acquired by the Shepherd Gallery and Charles Jerdein in 1973. It was sold to the Tanenbaums the same year [Fax by Robert Kashey, Shepherd Gallery, New York, to A. Kausch, NGC Provenance Research Project, July 16, 2008].

[7] Accession log [NGC curatorial file].

Research in progress



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