Hamdi Bey came to Paris in 1860 and remained there for nine years. He studied with Gérôme and Boulanger in that city at the time when Orientalist painting enjoyed a great success. Deputy Director of the Ottoman protocol in 1871, he was to remain loyal to this dynasty threatened by decline.
Influenced by European culture, Hamdi Bey became director of the Imperial Museum in 1881 and founded in 1882 the Academy of Fine Arts that would enable young artists to develop their skills without an exile in Europe. He early had a remarkable pioneering achievement in the protection of the archaeological heritage of the Middle East.
He nevertheless does not abandon painting in these years of intense official activity. His scenes of mosques are typical for the time but his portraits of courtiers are in the following of the Qajar art of Persia to which he brings an increased emotion.
The full length portrait of an elegant and veiled Lady painted in oil on canvas in 1881, 185 x 104 cm, was sold for £ 3.4 million including premium by Sotheby's on May 30, 2008. In the same technique but a smaller format, the portrait painted in 1878 of a young scholar comfortably lying to study a document in Topkapi remained unsold in April 2012 at Sotheby's.
On May 14 in Istanbul, Artam Antik A.S. sells a view of the front of the Green Mosque, oil on canvas 185 x 100 cm painted in 1882. The sunny steps and entrance are animated with faithful in the best European Orientalist style. This artwork is estimated TL 10M equivalent to € 3.25M, lot 130. Here is the link to the website of the auction house.
SOLD for TL 13.5M including premium