Mahmoud Saïd, Portrait de Mme Ismaïl Mazloum, 1957. Oil on panel, 88.9cm x 63.2cm.
The painting is of the artist’s niece, Nevine Sirry, daughter of former prime minister Hussein Sirry and Nahed Saïd, one of Mahmoud Saïd’s sisters. Nevine’s first husband was Ismaïl Mazloum, Mahmoud Saïd’s cousin.
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Arturo Zanieri, Title Unknown, 1909. Oil on canvas, 110cm x 81cm.
(for more information on Zanieri see Timeline 1915–1918)
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Amy Nimr, Agony, 1931. Charcoal and pastel on cardboard, 50cm x 65cm.
Originally of Syrian descent, Nimr (1902–1962) had an anguished, tortured and often pessimistic temperament reflected in her paintings. She studied art at the Slade School of Fine Art and her frequent stays in Europe allowed her to befriend artists like André Lhote and gain access to leaders of surrealism like Salvador Dalí, Yves Tanguy and Louis Marcoussis.
Seif Wanly, Yugoslavie, 1969. Oil on wood panel, 40cm x 60cm.
Born in Alexandria to an aristocratic, intellectual family, Seif studied oil painting with his brother Adham, first under Arturo Zanieri—who had also been the teacher of Mahmoud Saїd—then more significantly under Ottorino Bicchi’s tutelage. The Wanly brothers, together with their friends, the painter Ahmad Fahmi and the filmmaker Mohamed Bayoumi eventually opened their own studio in Alexandria in 1935. When sculptor Ahmad Osman (1907–1970) established the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria in 1957, Seif was appointed professor at the painting department.
The Wanly brothers were very close in their life and work. They travelled regularly to Europe through the 1950s where they sketched and painted numerous scenes from the ballet, opera and theatre. Together, they introduced modern pictorial trends in Alexandria and were among the first to depict international subjects, breaking away from the folklorist style of their contemporaries.
Seif Wanly, Clea (Portrait of Clea Badaro), ca.1950s. Oil on paper, 36.8cm x 28.6cm.
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Seif Wanly, Magda Abdel Razek (from Naguib Mahfouz’s novel el-Maraya), 1970. Gouache on paper, 32.5cm x 23cm.
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Adham Wanly, The Kiss, 1957. Oil on panel, 59.5cm x 81.5cm.
Adham Wanly, The Monologist, 1952. Oil on wood, 60cm x 46cm.
Although Adham (1908– 1959) died at the age of 51, he left behind him a unique legacy of paintings, loved for their vibrant colours and varied subjects. His favourite subject, however, was performance art, such as circus, ballet and theatre, where he captured the vibrant and dynamic movements of the performers on stage in Egypt and on his many trips around Europe.
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Clea Badaro, Portrait of Jeanne Engalytcheff-Badaro (the artist’s sister), undated. Oil on plywood, 100cm x 75cm.
Badaro (1913–1968) was born in Egypt, schooled in Switzerland and returned to live most of her adult life in Alexandria where she established a studio at L’atelier d’Alexandrie. She painted landscapes, portraits, scenes of sailors, bars, and soldiers in cabarets (during the war years), some of which today can be found in Egyptian museums of modern art. The quintessential Alexandrian, she was the inspiration behind the character of ‘Clea’ in Laurence Durell’s The Alexandria Quartet.
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Youssef Sida, The Divorce, 1959. Oil on canvas, 80cm x 108cm.
Born in Damietta, Sida (1922–1994) eventually moved to Cairo and attended the Higher School of Fine Arts. A founding member of the Modern Art Group, in 1950, he later received a Fulbright scholarship to study art education. He spent two years in the US and returned to the University of Columbus, Ohio in 1961 for his PhD. His work is distinguished by his use of primary colours, straight from the tube without mixing. In later years, he began experimenting with Arabic calligraphy and produced large murals depicting political scenes from the early period of the 1952 Egyptian revolution.
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Nahmeya Saad, The Back, date unknown. Oil on wood, 33cm x 56cm.
Born in Assiut, Upper Egypt, Saad (1912–1944) studied painting at the Higher School of Fine Arts where he specialized in graphic art and studied under Bernard Rice. In addition to exhibiting his work at the Salon du Caire exhibitions, he executed decorative panels for the main entrance of the Egyptian Pavilion at the Exposition universelle in Paris in 1937 and was awarded the exhibition’s Gold Medal. Saad devoted himself to depicting Upper Egypt in Luxor’s al-Marssam, producing some of his finest graphic works. He died of a pulmonary disease at the age of thirty-three.
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Shaaban Zaki, The Poet Kostandy, date unknown. Oil on wood, 29cm x44cm.
Born in Cairo to a middle class family of bureaucrats, Zaki (1899–1968) was a railway employee who followed his own path and decided to study art by correspondence with an art institute in Chicago, eventually making a name for himself on the Egyptian art scene. Here he depicts the poet Kostandy, who travelled from town to town to recite his poetry, as he boards the second-class carriage of the train.
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El-Hussein Fawzi, El-Dalalah (The Saleswoman), date unknown. Oil on wood.
Fawzi (1905–1999) studied graphic art and lithography in Cairo and Paris. He founded the department of graphic art at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo in 1936 and remained at its helm until his death.
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Hosni el-Banani, The Dance, date unknown. Oil on canvas, 119cm x 180cm.
A graduate of the Higher School of Fine Arts, and the Egyptian Academy of Arts in Rome in 1940, el-Banani (1912–1988) studied under Youssef Kamel and was influenced by his impressionist style. He participated in several local and international exhibitions, received numerous honours, and in 1938, was granted the International Award and the honorary prize at the Landscape Exhibition in Washington.
©CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD., 2010
Jaro Hilbert, La conference du Caire, 1943.
Born in Slovenia to Czech parents, Hilbert (1897–1995) studied at the Prague Academy and decided to make Egypt his new home in 1926. After forty years in Egypt, he returned to France, where he continued to paint and teach till the age of 98. In November and December of 1943, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek (here depicted with his wife) and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss the progress of the war against Japan and the future of Asia. The meeting featured in this painting was at the house of Henri Toriel, otherwise known as ‘Dar el-Sahara’.
Gamal el-Sigini, Egypt … The Future, 1975. Bronze, 90cm x 80cm x 30cm.
Born in Cairo, el-Sigini (1917–1977) studied sculpture at the Higher School of Fine Arts in Cairo and later went to Paris at his own expense to further his studies. In 1947, he earned a scholarship to go to Rome where he received a diploma in sculpture and metal arts. Considered to have introduced symbolism and expressionism to Egyptian sculpture, el-Sigini was granted several national and international awards.
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