The Path of Etienne Dinet
First broadcast date
Etienne Dinet was a painter and a novelist who chose Islam as religion and Algeria as a homeland.
The National Museum of Boussaada, the place where he lived, was created and dedicated to his memory and work. The museum, which bears his name, is celebrating the 75th anniversary of his death, December 24, 1929.
EPTV - Canal Algérie
- Tourism and cultural sites
Credits / Cast
- Boulemaali Radia - Journalist
- Algeria - South (Sahara) - Boussaada
Le parcours d’Etienne Dinet
Etienne Dinet (1861-1929) was a French Orientalist painter during the colonial period who visited Algeria for the first time when he was 23 and became actively involved in the school of painting known as Orientalist. Dividing his time between Paris and the town of Bou Saada, founding an Algerian “Villa Medici” and exhibiting in Europe throughout his career, he learned Arabic and converted to Islam. He died in Paris a few days after his return from a pilgrimage to Mecca. After a service in the Great Mosque of Paris he was given a religious burial in his adopted city.
Considered the Sahara's most northern gateway, the region of Bou Saada is central to Dinet's painted and literary work. He described it in a naturalistic vein, edged with spirituality and eroticism while tending towards the picturesque. These works, shown in French national museums and European exhibitions, as well as his many illustrated books, helped spread the popular stereotypes of Orientalism.
The house he bought in 1905 in Bou Saada now displays many of his paintings and objects of his everyday life. It was made into a museum in 1969, 40 years after the artist's death and five years after Algerian independence. In 1993 the house became the Musée national Nars Eddine Etienne Dinet, using the artist's Muslim names as well as his French ones, confirming the painter's status as a cultural go-between, who, with his close friend Ibrahim Ben Slimane, had laboured for a better understanding of Algerian culture. Much criticised by the supporters of colonisation, he himself challenged some drifts and currents of Islam. He also campaigned for recognition of the role played by Algerian soldiers in the First World War, and for the construction of the Great Mosque in Paris, opened in 1926.
Sid-Ahmed Baghli 1977, « Aspects de la politique culturelle de l’Algérie », Unesco.
Sanchez Pierre, Richemond Stéphane 2008, La société des peintres orientalistes français (1889-1943), Paris, Échelle de Jacob.
Ferhati Barkahoum 2004, Le Musée national Nasr Eddine Étienne Dinet de Bou-Saâda. Genèse (1930-1993), Editions INAS, Alger.
Pouillon François 1997, Les Deux Vies d'Étienne Dinet, Paris, Balland.