About the author: Hélène Gill, Agrégée de l’Université, was educated at the Sorbonne. She lectures and researches at the University of Westminster (UK) where she specializes in French political and colonial history, and in postcolonial francophone studies. A founder member of the Francophone ACP Research Group at Westminster, she is co-founder editor of the Bulletin of Francophone Africa.2003 0-7734-6764-5
This study focuses on three characteristic proponents of the genre in French painting of the 19th and early 20th centuries: Horace Vernet, Eugène Fromentin, and Etienne Dinet. By confronting post-Saidian critique of orientalist cultural productions with the historical context of the target works, it raises fundamental questions: is there a ’right’ to represent the non-European Other, or is the Western gaze irretrievably reductive? What can be said about the gaps, ambiguities, lucid ‘moments’ which may be glimpsed in the work of certain artists of the colonial era? What do some in the formerly colonized East see in an output which has been so categorically deconstructed as the aesthetic arm of imperialism?