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Frederick Arthur Bridgman
Cafe at Biskra, Algeria
27 5/8 x 44 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by the Pauline Edwards Bequest

As if from within a dark corner of this French Algerian café, we take in its exotic character, convincing both in detail and atmosphere. Ironically, Bridgman created most of his paintings of the Middle East in his Parisian studio, having traveled widely to places such as Algeria to gather impressions and artifacts. In the 1880s his scenes were popular with Europeans and Americans who were fascinated by the cultures of the Near East, then called the “Orient.”