The Guard

Creation date
oil on canvas
21-7/8 x 18-3/8 in.
Credit line
Delavan Smith Fund
Accession number
Currently On View In
Norb and Ruth Schaefer, Sr. & Norb and Carolyn Schaefer Gallery - H211

Gérôme was schooled in the rigorous exactitude of the French academic tradition as well as Romanticism's taste for the exotic. He is renowned for his scenes of the Middle East, which he first visited in 1856. Most are idealized images heightening the sensuous qualities that made the Orient so appealing to the Romantic imagination.

The Guard is an imagined view of everyday life in a Middle Eastern town. The dozing animals and inviting, shady street contrast with the stern guard. This tension between the familiar and the menacing unknown gives Gérôme's art much of its seductive appeal.

(Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Paris). {1} (Sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, October 1955); {2} sold to David G. Carter; {3} sold by Carter to John Herron Art Institute, now Indianapolis Museum of Art, in November 1955 (55.220).

{1} As given in Gerald M. Ackerman, The Life and Work of Jean-Léon Gérôme with a catalogue raisonné, New York, 1986, no. 372 (ill.).
{2} Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, Dutch, Flemish and British Paintings of the XVII-XVIII Century, XIX Century Landscapes [from] various New York Private Collectors and other owners, 26 October 1955, lot 63, as property of a "Baltimore Private Collector." Ackerman suggests that the consignor was Marburg, possibly estate of Theodore Marburg [1862-1946]?
{3} David G. Carter was an art collector and curator at the John Herron Art Institute.
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