Skip to main content
image alt

Abdullah Frères

Untitled (Ottoman woman)

c. 1860s–c. 1890s

image alt

Wearing an up-to-date silk gown, parasol, and yashmak, or veil, an Ottoman woman poses in an artificial outdoor environment. Although the sitter’s family may have commissioned this image, at some point it was reproduced and sold commercially. This relatively modern depiction is at variance with many photographs of Ottoman women made for the tourist market, in which models in antiquated clothing lounge in harem-inspired interiors. Around the time this image was likely made, Sultan Abdülhamid II, who reigned from 1876 to 1909, commissioned photographic albums from Abdullah Frères to promote Ottoman modernization and counter Orientalist preconceptions. He stated, “Most of the photographs taken for sale in Europe vilify and mock Our Well-Protected Domains. It is imperative that the photographs to be taken in this instance do not insult Islamic peoples by showing them in a vulgar and demeaning light.” [Permanent collection label, 2022]

  • Artist Abdullah Frères (Ottoman studio, active 1860s–1908)
  • Title Untitled (Ottoman woman)
  • Date c. 1860s–c. 1890s
  • Medium Albumen silver print
  • Credit line Gift of Laurie Wilson, Robert Frerck, and family, 2015
  • Object number 512.2015
  • Currently on View Works on Paper Gallery

19th- and 20th-Century Travel Photography
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 11/11/2022

12/10/2015 Received at MLKAM; 12/30/2015 Deed of Gift signed by L. Wilson; 3/31/2016 ACC presentation
Robert Frerck (Chicago, IL)

This artwork record may be incomplete or need refinement. Our staff actively researches the collection and revises records when new information is available. If you have questions or comments about this record, please contact us.