A GATHERING AROUND THE MORNING NEWS, CAIRO Signed, inscribed and dated ‘L. Deutsch Le Caire 1885’ (upper right) Oil on Panel 24 x 17½ in. (61 x 44.5 cm.) Painted in Cairo in 1885 Provenance: Rayner MacConnal, London Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 26 May 1983, lot 77 Borghi & Co., New York Private Collection, Switzerland Anonymous sale, Christie’s, London, 14 June 2006, lot 12
eutsch produced a few works based on figures reading, such as seen in Reading the Letter. In A Gathering Around the Morning News, Cairo, he focuses on the expansion of newspaper circulation in nineteenth-century Egypt, which was believed to have helped significantly raise the level of literacy in the country.
A Gathering Around the Morning News, Cairo shows a group of men gathered in Cairo’s famous bazaar Khan el-Khalili. It was painted two years after the artist’s first trip to Egypt, during his most productive period, and was based on a smaller variant he had done in 1883. The present work would be the finished version of the earlier one. With some exceptions, the majority of Deutsch’s paintings after 1883 were based on scenes of everyday Cairene life. These contrast strongly with his more formal paintings, which typically showed a single - often ceremonial - figure, set starkly against a lavish background, such as his palace guards. In the present work, Deutsch renders great nuances of expression, and the relationship of each figure to the other is carefully worked out. The mood is informal; the artist has contrasted a fleeting moment with the implied permanence of the background architecture.