Author Christine Peltre's elegant text retraces Orientalism's artistic history, in which the French and British schools predominated. The "high poetry" of the Romantics' Orient strove for dramatic effect, as the works of David Roberts, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, and Eugene Delacroix attest. A different brand of imagery was produced by the "ethnographic gaze" of the century's middle years, practiced by artists such as John Frederick Lewis, Eugene Fromentin, Jean-Leon Gerome, A. D. Ingres, and Adolphe Monticelli. Work of this kind was eventually superseded by a "third style", a fusion of European and Eastern elements, as seen in the work of August Macke, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Henri Matisse.
Witnesses to a history that they influenced in subtle ways through their imagery, the Orientalist painters also produced a history of their own, that of a spiritual and formal quest to find in the "East" the ideal of "primitive" purity. Orientalism in Art covers all these facets, making it an indispensable volume for art historians and anyone with a passion for Orientalist art.