1871 - 1943
Cairo Camel Driver

Oil on canvas, signed and dated ’94’ lower right
Image size: 30 x 24 inches (76 x 61 cm)
Original frame



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This half-length portrait, set on a dark background, depicts a young man wearing a low-cut vest, ornately-patterned head scarf and golden earrings. He looks away from the viewer, his head leaning on his raised palm causing his mouth to be pulled slightly open. Orientalist art propagated a European myth of the east as romanticised. Because the sitter is not named it adds to the sense of him being presented as an ‘exotic’ ornament that could be found sitting in an enchanting interior.

This work was painted by the artist during the time while he was studying in Paris and was just twenty-three years of age. This work is exquisite in its simplicity and compositional equilibrium. The light highlights the striking face of the man’s high cheek bones and sensual lips, also hitting the muscles on his neck and bare exposed chest. Whomever this sitter might be, this is a sensitive portrait that captures the real character of the man.



Frank Benton Ashley Linton

Frank Benton Ashley Linton was born in Philadelphia on February 26, 1871. He received his general education in the Philadelphia public schools and when his great gifts became apparent at an early age he resolved to devote his career to art, following the example of his distinguished ancestor, Sir James Linton, who was one of Britain’s celebrated painters. Sir James Linton achieved to enviable honour of election to president of the Royal Academy of London.

In his teens, Frank B. A. Linton studied for five years with Thomas Eakins. At nineteen he went to Paris, where he became a pupil of Gerome and Bonnat at the École des Beaux-Arts and of Benjamin-Constant, Jean Paul Laurens and Bouguereau at the Academie Julien. His claims to serious consideration, particularly in portraiture and figure work, were soon recognised and at the age of twenty-three he was awarded the silver medal for his exhibit at the American Art Exhibition. His first portrait hung in Paris, that of Dr. J. L. Borsch of Philadelphia, won for him enormous acclaim.

It was in portraiture that Linton laid the basis of his international reputation. He has painted many well known figures, among them William L. Austin, president of the Baldwin Locomotive Works; Rufus B. Weaver, Dean of Hahnemann Medical College; Dr. Jennings, the Johns Hopkins biologist; Dr. Clarence Bartlett; Dr. J. C. Wilson; Dr. William H. Green; Mr. and Mrs. Dolfinger and many others. He had also painted many notables of France, where his attainments have been highly valued since his student days. He had exhibited at all the important art exhibitions in America and was especially invited to give a one-man exhibition at the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, District of Columbia, where an entire gallery was placed at his disposal. He was represented in the Knoedler Art Gallery in New York City, the Peabody Institute in Baltimore and in December, 1939 and gave a one-man show at the Reading Art Museum by special invitation, at which about forty of his paintings were hung. Until 1938 he regularly exhibited two portraits, the maximum permitted any painter, at the Paris Salon.

Linton’s paintings had taken medals and awards on numerous occasions and in 1927 he was signally honoured when his picture, “La Dernière Retouche,” won the Gold Medal of the Paris Salon and was acquired by the French Government for the galleries of the Luxembourg. In the following year he won the coveted decoration of “Officier de Academie,” admitting him to the Royal Order originated by Napoleon I, sometimes termed the “Palms of France.” Linton was also a member of the Internationale Union des Beaux-arts et Lettres, to which only one member in the entire world is elected each year. He received this honour in 1913, when his name was enrolled among the illustrious greats comprising the membership of the Internationale Union des Beaux-Arts et Lettres, including such personages as Kipling, Rodin, Degas, Anatole France, Renoir and many more.

Linton was a member of the Philadelphia Art Club, and the New York Society of Pennsylvania. Sadly, Linton died insolvent. Much of his estate and paintings were acquired by his creditors.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Delaware Art Museum, the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Delaware, Girard College, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Louvre, Paris and many private collections