It’s not a particularly big thing. But it is ironic that it is Arabs who are undermining Professor Said’s thesis.
I commented on this in ABRACADABRA, a Saturday SPINE. And then I had follow-up thoughts.
Who has been driving up the prices of 19th century Orientalist paintings at the auction houses? Well, you got it: wealthy Arabs and especially the Arab royals.
Even the Western art world can’t ignore the trend—to wit, the Gérôme revival, to which the Getty just recently gave a very big lift:
Plenty of scenes of muezzins, public prayer in mosques, snake charmers. All that you didn’t have at the Getty were tableaux of whirling dervishes.
The Getty exhibit was subsidized by the Federal Council of the Arts and the Humanities. And it also being shown at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid.
Poor Said, barely cold in his Lebanese grave, and already repudiated by his own.
And why Lebanon?