Michael Osterweil
Art 1959 - 2017
. Index . Water Colors . Oils . Pencil Paintings . Lithographs . Art Prints .
"Thousand Nights and a Night" (1001 Arabian Nights)
Sir Richard F. Burton. Watercolors 1990
Introduction notes to THE NIGHTíS

Most American and European are totally unfamiliar with the complete works of the Arabian Nightís. The majority believe that the Arabian Nights consists only of Ali Baba and Aladin and that it is a Disney studio creation. Others believe that the Arabian Nightís are children stories. Contrary to both notion, the original stories are beautiful detailed, erotic, and sophisticated dealing with gender roles, values, theology, commerce, sex, love and culture story form. And as stories, these timeless issues are represented in a more persuasive and instructional form than any other means of communication.

I would like to introduce the modern reader to selected updated stories from the ARABIAN NIGHTíS accompanied by rich colorful original watercolors. I chose to update Richard Burtonís 1883 version because it is the most authentic English translation . But , this 17- volume work is difficult to understand due to the language and writing style of that period. I want to update the stories so todayís reader can both comprehend and appreciate Burtonís work in order to have an intellectual and an aesthetic reading experience . I am modernizing the work by using familiar English terminology and usage, by eliminating repetition and by reducing excessive poetic verse and couplets without losing the intent and flavor of the original. My watercolors add magic to the stories by transporting the reader through color and imagination to the time of the Arabian Nightís .The watercolors are my interpretation of the main characters through gesture, as if they were actors on a stage without props.

Twenty one years ago I realized the worldwide lack of exposure to the wisdom and beauty of folk tales. My painting of Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Nightís Dream , and the Arabian Nightís hopefully will reintroduce the richest folk tales to the American and European public.

Selected stories accompanied by my watercolors to the Arabian Nightís will appear gradually on this site if my health and time will permit it .

Michael Osterweil 2006


© Michael Osterweil 2006