Oriental Beauty, An
An Oriental Beauty is an example of Orientalist painting, a movement popular in European art circles throughout the 19th century. Artists, as well as writers and designers, imitated or depicted various aspects of Eastern cultures, usually tending toward the exotic; for instance, the near nudity of Carl's subject was acceptable in this context while considered scandalous in the depiction of a European woman. The techniques used were usually a blend of Romantic expression and the careful delineation of academic painting. Especially popular among French artists, two of its exponents were leading painters of the time, Romantic artist Eugene Delacroix and the foremost academic artist, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Katherine Augusta Carl was born in New Orleans and eventually studied art in Paris at the Academie Julian. Unlike many Orientalists, she actually spent time in Eastern cultures. In 1903 she made a 9 month visit to China, during which she painted 4 portraits of the Empress Dowager Cixi for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.