On 10 June 2017 at 14:40

The "Panorama du Caire" by Emile Wauters (1881). A masterpiece of Orientalism, lost for all ?

Eugène Warmenbol

Emile Wauters (1846-1933) was a major portrait painter of the end of the 19th and the early 20th century. He travelled to Egypt twice, in 1869, to attend the opening of the Suez Canal, and in 1881, to prepare his “Panorama du Caire”, but not in the company of Prince Rudolf of Habsburg, as is often stated. This extraordinary work, measuring no less than 380 ft. by 49 ft. (116 m by 15 m), showing the banks of the Nile, was exhibited in Brussels,Vienna,

Munich and Den Haag, with great success. It got “permanent” housing in 1897, when an exhibition hall shaped like a mosque was built for it. This building was given to King Faysal of Saudi Arabia on the initiative of King Baudouin, to become the Great Mosque of Brussels in the Parc du Cinquantenaire. The giant canvas was transferred to the Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, but appears to be lost, or “misplaced”. Quite a few “urban legends” pertaining to the fate of this masterpiece are in circulation…



BIP - Rue Royale 2-4, 1000 Bruxelles


On 10 June 2017 at 14:40

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Eugène Warmenbol

Eugène Warmenbol is professor at the université libre de bruxelles, holding the chair of Archaeology of the Celtic world. He was previously attached to the chair of Archaeology of egypt and the Middle east. He excavated in Egypt, mainly at Elkab and Gurnah, where he was involved in the clearing of tombs TT29 and C3. He also organised a number of exhibitions on Ancient Egypt, such as Sphinx. Les Gardiens de l’Egypte at the espace culturel in Brussels (2006-2007) or Egyptomanies depuis le XIXe siècle. Edouard et Cléopâtre at the Fondation Boghossian in Brussels (2021-2013). His interest in Orientalist paintings finds expression in L’Egypte vue par Florent Mols et Jacob Jacobs (1838-1839). L’Orientalisme en Belgique (racine, 2012) and in egyptomania or egyptophilia in Le lotus et l’oignon. Egyptologie et Egyptomanie en Belgique au XIXe siècle (le livre Timperman, 2012).