The Carpet Merchant c1887 by Jean Leon Gerome | Oil Painting Reproduction
58 cm
The Carpet Merchant c1887
Artist: Jean Leon Gerome
Size: 75 x 58 cm (29.5 x 22.8")
Oil Painting Reproductions

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Price: $389.00
Selected size: 75 x 58 cm (29.5 x 22.8")

Painted in 1887, The Carpet Merchant by Jean Leon Gerome is an iconic creation of French academic painting.

With a strong element of orientalism and French colonialism, Gerome’s paintings included many historical and mythological subjects. They also reflected his travels in North Africa and the Middle East.

What does Jean Leon Gerome Carpet Merchant represent?

In the 1850s, Gerome visited Egypt for the first time. Reflecting the classical “Grant Tour” route, he traveled up the Nile towards Cairo, before heading onwards to Jerusalem and Damascus. This visit shaped his entire artistic creation after this date.

Indeed, the trip heralded the start of Gerome’s orientalist phase, depicting many Arab religious practices and North African landscapes. Consequently, The Carpet Merchant represents an “everyday” scene brought to life via the nineteenth century French imagination.

Gerome’s oriental artworks often mixed contemporary stereotyping of the near East, combined with carefully observed representations of female nudity. Some of the most famous Jean Leon Gerome art of this period include The Slave Market, Moorish Bath and The Black Poet.

Whilst these paintings were largely imaginative works, they contain expertly crafted examples of Middle Eastern architecture as well as academic idealized nudes.

Fascinated by this part of the world, Gerome also collected artifacts and costumes for staging oriental scenes in his studio. This makes accurately locating the creation of The Carpet Merchant problematic. It could have been painted “en plein air” in Cairo, or perhaps in Gerome’s Paris atelier.

Relatedly, in 1878 Gerome described how even when exhausted from “long marches under the bright sun” he painted enthusiastically on location. He preferred just “three touches of color” to the even most vivid memories which could leave-out crucial details.

Where is The Carpet Merchant Jean Leon Gerome?

The Carpet Merchant painting depicts a scene in Egypt. It reflects a common occurrence of nineteenth century Egyptian life; the display and bartering over stunning hand-made carpets.

Carpets are some of the oldest luxury items purchased as domestic furnishing. They appear in some of the most famous examples of medieval and renaissance art, for instance Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors (1533) and Hans Memling’s Virgin with Child (1490).

The carpet market visited by Gerome lay in the capital of Cairo. Visiting the site in 1885, the artist adored the fabrics, colors and sounds of the market. Whilst the artwork depicts several figures, the carpets themselves are the main focal point.

Indeed, draping large rugs from balconies and walls enabled quick viewing for buyers. The crowd of men possibly debate the merits of the large rug towards the left of the composition. The shine of their robes and turbans almost rivals the rugs and carpets in beauty, as they all listen intently to the charismatic merchant. 

To the right, another group of men (more modestly dressed) look-on. The woman appearing from a doorway in the background is the only female in the composition. 

Akin to other Gerome artworks, the architectural patterns of the building appear in intricate detail and vivid color.

Why are Jean Leon Gerome paintings famous?

Whilst Jean Leon Gerome’s name isn’t that well-known today, he was one of the most famous painters of the nineteenth century. Constantly reproduced and widely celebrated, his pioneering artwork made him the world’s “most famous living artist” by the end of the 1880s

In addition to the astounding skill of his paintings, Gerome also taught art and ensured the ongoing popularity of the French academic and classical style. Already renowned as a leading teacher, The Carpet Merchant emerged whilst Jean Leon Gerome worked as a Professor at the prestigious Paris École des Beaux-Art (a position held between 1864 and 1904).

With oil paintings such as The Carpet Merchant and The Slave Market, Jean Leon Gerome represented a unique period in history. Whilst they reflect entrenched French attitudes towards non-white subjects, they also present unparalleled painterly skill and beauty. This ensures the paintings’ continued (if not uncontroversial) position as some of the most recognizable oil on canvas paintings of all time.

Gerome, Jean Leon

Buy Orientalism Paintings by the artist Jean Leon Gerome

Jean-Leon Gerome was a French painter and sculptor who was known for his Orientalist historical painting and use of Greek mythology, known as academicism. Gerome studied in Paris and made several visits to Greece, Egypt and Turkey. These countries influenced his style and Gerome painted many Oriental style canvases depicting Arab religions, landscapes and genre scenes.

Gerome was against the new style of Impressionist painting that was becoming prominent, but after seeing the impressionist paintings by Edouard Manet stated that the Impressionist Movement was “not so bad”.

The Carpet Merchant of Cairo painted around 1887 is one Jean-Leon Gerome’s finest paintings.

Another popular painting by Jean-Leon Gerome is Pool in a Harem c1876.

Discover more about the Orientalism art movement and particularly the paintings of Jean-Leon Gerome. Orientalism Fine-art reproductions are for sale in many size options.


We offer a 100% money back guarantee or replacement service. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your painting please contact us within 7 days of receipt, advising the reason you are unhappy and we will provide you with all the information you need for its return or replacement.

We ship free to anywhere in the world via FedEx or DHL expedited service with online tracking.

Your painting will be shipped rolled in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and/or framing locally. This is the conventional method of transporting hand-painted oil on canvas. Learn more about how your painting is shipped.

We are able to offer a framing service intercontinental U.S. Please contact us if you would like a quotation. Alternatively, should you prefer, we can recommend a framer in your area.

Notes About Your Painting

Please note that replica oil paintings are finished with an additional 10cm (4") of extra canvas on all sides, allowing ample surplus canvas for stretching and framing.

Why settle for a poster or paper art print when you can own a real oil painting on canvas? This is a hand painted oil painting reproduction of a masterpiece, by a talented artist no electronic transfer methods are employed.

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