Ludwig Deutsch was an Austrian painter working in Paris in the 19th-century tradition of Orientalism which The Sahlab Vendor, Cairo is a great example of. This 1866 picture was painted after his first Middle Eastern trip in 1885.
Sahlab is a flour derived from the tuber of the orchid and is used in Africa and elsewhere as a refreshing drink or in desserts. A peaceful and mundane relationship exists between the people of different races in the picture, from the fellah to the dark-skinned Nubian man drinking in the doorway. The documentary nature of the picture is enhanced by Deutsch’s near-photographic Realism.
Ludwig Deutsch’s The Sahlab Vendor, Cairo is in a private collection.