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On the Nile

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Eugène Fromentin (French, 1820-1876)

About this artwork

This seemingly objective rendering of 19th-century Egypt depicts a caravan resting on the shores on the Nile. A large dahabeah, or houseboat, balances on the low horizon line. The building in the right background might be the temple at Luxor or the one at Philae, the latter of which Eugène Fromentin mentioned in the diary he kept while traveling in Egypt during the fall of 1869.

Fromentin was in Egypt to witness the opening of the Suez Canal; he based this composition on sketches he made at the time. While Orientalism—European representations of Near Eastern and North African places and people—was beginning to wane by the time Fromentin painted this scene, the opening of the canal marked a new age of colonial imperialism.


On View, Gallery 223


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Eugène Fromentin


On the Nile


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed lower right: Eug. Fromentin, 71


63.8 × 110.6 cm (25 × 43 1/2 in.); Framed: 80.7 × 127 × 6.4 cm (31 3/4 × 50 × 2 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Nickerson Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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