This extremely rare portrait of a girl named Lea from Bethlehem depicts a Jewish Sephardic (Moroccan or Jemenite ) girl wearing traditional dress , it was executed in Bethlehem/ then Palestine during author´s travels to Egypt and Palestine in 1880.
The identicy of the national dress to Jewish Sephardic and not to Palestinian was confirmed due comparison with other similar images in paintings and old photographs and also due the Jewish girl’s name Lea and Jewish transcription of the city name. As it´s known, the moving of Noth African Jews to their historical motherland Palestine begun in the middle of 19th century.
Biography of the artist (translated from French Wikipedia): Albrecht De Vriendt (1843 Gand - 1900 Antwerp), the important Belgian historical painter, was the son of a decorative painter, Jan Bernard (John) de Vriendt (1809-1868), who passed on to his son his interest in art and the Flemish language. After initial training provided by their father, Albrecht and his brother Julian (who will also become painter), moved to Antwerp, where they are influenced by Henri Leys. The two brothers make several trips together. In 1869, they are in Germany. In 1880, they travel in Italy, Egypt and Palestine. That same year, he married Laure Fiévé, with whom he has five children.
After the death of Charles Verlat, in 1891, Albrecht De Vriendt is appointed Director of the Royal Academy of fine arts of Antwerp, a position he held until his death in 1900 ( it was succeed by his brother). His masterpiece, performed with his brother and his son Samuel is the decoration of the Gothic Hall of the City Hall of Bruges.
The artist is a member of several academies and societies and receives several honors. He is Commander of the order of Leopold, grand officer of the order of Isabella the Catholic, and Commander of the order of merit of St. Michael. His students include Pieter Franciscus Dierckx, Georges Lemmers , Frans Mortelmans, Isidore Opsomer and Emile Rommelaere . Works of Albrecht De Vriendt are in museums in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brooklin (USA).
Literature : artist lexicons by Thieme/Becker, Benezit.
Inscription: signed left in the middle, titled "Lea, Beit-Lehem" upper right.
Technique: oil on canvas. Original period gilt frame.
Measurements: each unframed w 22 1/4" x h 31 2/3" (56,5 x 80,5 cm), framed w 31 1/2" x h 41" (80 x 104 cm ).
Condition: in very good condition.