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Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant

The Pink Flamingo


Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant
Paris 1845 – Paris 1902


The Pink Flamingo




Oil on canvas


65.3 x 92 cm


Gift of Philippe and Michèle Stora in honour of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' 150th anniversary, inv. 2010.730


Western Art

This painting is a work of the artist’s fantasy. Orientalist artists such as Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant characteristically combined “exotic” elements, such as rich textiles, luxurious accessories, and non-European flora and fauna, to create fanciful scenes of the Near East for European consumers. The Pink Flamingo is distinct from some more elaborate Orientalist works in that it seems to represent an “authentic” everyday scene in its depiction of two female figures, who in their boredom, tempt a flamingo with a plump orange. The banality of the composition gives the illusion that the scene was observed from reality, despite the fact that it is set in a harem: a private female space to which the artist would not have gained access. The harem is imagined by Benjamin-Constant through combining Eastern motifs and objects with classically posed female figures, derivative of his training as a traditional French academic painter.

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