Water Carriers of the Ganges


Edwin Lord Weeks ( American, 1849 - 1903 )

c. 1885
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General Description

This image of women collecting water from the sacred Ganges river was probably painted in France from detailed oil sketches composed on-site in India. The work belongs to a long tradition in 19th-century art of “exotic” scenes of life in other cultures made for the entertainment of Western audiences. Edwin Lord Weeks exhibited such scenes of Indian life at the Paris Salon throughout the 1880s and 1890s. Like many other artists of his generation, Weeks left the United States for France, where he studied in Paris with the famed painters Jean-Léon Gérôme and Léon Bonnat. From them, he absorbed a realist style combined with a strong sense of color. After travels to Spain and North Africa, Weeks journeyed to India in 1882, where he spent three extended stays over the next eleven years.

Excerpt from

William Keyse Rudolph, DMA label copy, 2005.

Fun Facts

  • Weeks not only painted and sketched in India, but also took photographs to record details for his paintings.