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North Africa

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Emil Orlik voyaged to North Africa in 1912. He travelled extensively in Egypt and in northern Sudan. Some of the etchings and drypoints he made there he published in an unnumbered portfolio titled “Aus Ägypten” (From Egypt) in 1913, containing 20 etchings. In 1922 another portfolio with the same title was published by the Propyläen Verlag, Berlin in an edition of 115 which contained 15 of the etchings. The soft ground etchings in this series are some of the most accomplished prints made by Orlik. He was obviously fascinated by the desert and its people. The etching Arabischer Märchenerzähler (Arab story teller) is a fine example of his observation of the people and atmosphere of the country.

He was overwhelmed by the light and the sun. He found that he could even manage to paint and draw in the night and capture colours by the light of the moon. He was fascinated by the statuesque figures of the people, particularly the Nubians looking to him like bronzes, and seeing just the eyes of the women peering out from their veils. The Bedouin women in particular were subjects, as was the scenery of the Nile, with its sailing felukas, of a number of drawings and prints.