Afro-Turkish Woman from Istanbul
Color aquatint on wove paper.
Edition unknown, but certainly small, like all of the artist’s work.A small paper tab (which we add), handwritten in the artist’s cursive titles this work A Negress from Stamboul, reflecting the language of the time when describing not only his subject, but also the place. We have changed the title so as to avoid the impression that the artist may have had anything but respect and admiration for the people he encountered on his travel. As his brief life’s work shows, Potter was completely open to discovering and learning to understand any culture that was not his own.
Black Africans were not common in places such as Tunisia, where the artist lived at least one year, or in Turkey, where he also seems to have visited. Potter, who was keenly interested in diversity depicted Black Africans on more than one occasion despite never going further south.
Signed and numbered in pencil.
Provenance: the estate of the artist, thence by descent to his great-grandson, New Jersey.
A short, repaired tear in the bottom sheet edge, well away from the image. Faint foxing on the verso.