His works are internationally sought after, a fact reflected in the guide of €1m-1.4m for his 2ft 4in x 18in (68 x 45cm) canvas Looking in a Mirror on offer at Dorotheum in Vienna on May 2.
Hamdi Bey had originally been sent to Paris in 1860 by his father, the Grand Vizier Ibrahim Edhem Pasha, to study law. Before long, however, he had abandoned his studies and taken up painting. Among his teachers were the Orientalist Gustave Boulanger and the history painter Jean-Léon Gérôme, both of whom recognised his talent.
Hamdi Bey’s first appearance at the Paris Salon was in 1865, but only in the form of two portraits that Boulanger had painted of his pupil. In the following years, he was a regular participant at the Paris Salons and world fairs with his own paintings, enjoying considerable success.
In 1882, Hamdi Bey founded the Institute of Fine Arts in Istanbul, so that Turkish painters could study art in their home country and not have to travel to Europe.
The painting in the Vienna sale was created around this time and combines Oriental motifs with European techniques; it is one of a series of portraits of young women, dressed in the fashion of the day.
The vendor is an Italian collector.