Saturday, October 14, 2017

09 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, of the 18th & 19th C., with Footnotes. #14

Youssef Nabil, B. 1972, EGYPTIAN
Hand-coloured gelatin silver print
38 by 25cm.; 15 by 9 7/8 in.
Private collection

Jananne Al-Ani was born in Kirkuk, Iraq in 1966. She studied Fine Art at the Byam Shaw School of Art and graduated with an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art in 1997. She is currently Senior Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London, and lives and works in London.

Working with photography, film and video, Al-Ani has an ongoing interest in the documentary tradition, through intimate recollections and more official accounts. Her work also engages with the landscape of the Middle East, its archaeology and its visual representation.

Summarising her work , Al-Ani said: "I have a longstanding interest in the representation of the body. The earliest works I exhibited were concerned with the way women's bodies have been represented throughout the history of western painting. In advance of the development of photography and film, the shifting ideals of feminine beauty were clearly mapped out in the work of artists. However, the media coverage of the 1991 Gulf War, which focused on aerial and satellite images of a depopulated, barren landscape, had a major impact on my work. What followed was a reassessment on my part of the work of Orientalist painters and the way in which fantasies about the body and the landscape of the Middle East were constructed in their works. I began to see the body itself as a contested territory and during the 90s produced a series of works that attempted to counter the European obsession with uncovering and exposing the bodies of veiled women. More recently, with the Aesthetics of Disappearance project, I've attempted to re-occupy that space so, while the presence of the body is implied rather than explicit, the traces of human activity in the landscape are clear to see. More om Jananne Al-Ani

Youssef Nabil (born 6 November 1972) is an Egyptian artist and photographer. Fascinated by cinema in his youth, Egyptian photographer Youssef Nabil captures the contemporary paradoxes of the Middle East through the lens of fantasy. In 2003, Nabil was awarded The Seydou Keita Prize for Portraiture from the Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, Bamako, Mali and in 2005 he was honored by the International Photography Awards, Los Angeles, CA. His first film, You Never Left, was first exhibited in 2010. His work has been the subject of recent solo shows at Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris, France (2012); Nathalie Obadia Gallery, Paris, France (2011); Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY (2010); Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, GA (2010); GALERIST, Istanbul, Turkey (2009); Villa Medici, Rome, Italy (2009); The Third Line Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2009); and Volker Diehl Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2009). More on Youssef Nabil

Kees van Dongen, (1877 - 1968)
La Marquise de Casati , Circa 1950
Lithograph printed in colours on wove paper
23 3/8 x 11 3/4 in.
Private collection

Luisa, Marchesa Casati Stampa di Soncino (23 January 1881 – 1 June 1957), also known as Luisa Casati, was an Italian heiress, muse, and patroness of the arts in early 20th-century Europe known for her eccentricities. As the concept of quaintrelle was re-developed, Marchesa Casati fitted the utmost example by saying: "I want to be a living work of art".

Luisa was born in Milan, youngest of two daughters of Alberto Amman and his wife Lucia. Her father was of Austrian descent, while her mother was Italian and Austrian. Alberto Amman father was made a count by King Umberto I. Countess Amman died when Luisa was thirteen, and Count Amman died two years later, making his daughters, Luisa and her older sister, Francesca (1880–1919, married Giulio Padulli), reportedly the wealthiest women in Italy. More on Marquise de Casati

Cornelis Theodorus Maria 'Kees' van Dongen (26 January 1877 – 28 May 1968) was a Dutch-French painter and one of the Fauves at the controversial 1905 Salon d'Automne exhibition. He gained a reputation for his sensuous, at times garish, portraits.

Kees van Dongen was born in Delfshaven, a borough of Rotterdam. He was the second of four children in a middle-class family. In 1892, at age 16, Kees van Dongen started his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam During this period (1892–97), van Dongen frequented the Red Quarter seaport area, where he drew scenes of sailors and prostitutes. He met Augusta Preitinger at the Academy, a fellow painter.

In 1897, van Dongen lived in Paris for several months, where there was a large emigre community. Van Dongen began to exhibit in Paris, and participated in the controversial 1905 Salon d'Automne exhibition[4] along with Henri Matisse, André Derain, Albert Marquet, Maurice de Vlaminck, Charles Camoin, and Jean Puy.

Van Dongen’s candid, colourful portrait style was immensely fashionable by the end of World War I, and thereafter it remained his main focus. The figure of a glamorous woman with large eyes and red lips became his archetype. More on Kees van Dongen

Sandro Botticelli,  (1445–1510) 
Portrait of a Lady, known as Smeralda Brandini, c. 1470 and 1475
Tempera on panel
Height: 65.7 cm (25.9 in). Width: 41 cm (16.1 in).
Victoria and Albert Museum

The Portrait of Smeralda Brandini is a tempera on panel painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli of about 1475, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The identification of the sitter is based on the old, but probably not original, inscription on the windowsill at the bottom of the picture Smeralda di M.Bandinelli Moglie di VI, the wife of Viviano Brandini, mother of the prominent Florentine goldsmith Michelangelo de Viviano de Brandini of Gaiuole, and grandmother of the sculptor Baccio Bandinelli (the son of Michelangelo). From archive documents it is known that in 1469 Smeralda was 30. More on Smeralda Brandini

Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, known as Sandro Botticelli (1445 –1510), was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He belonged to the Florentine School.  Botticelli's posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; since then, his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting.

Botticelli was born in Florence. He was initially trained as a goldsmith. There are very few details of Botticelli's life, but it is known that he became an apprentice when he was about fourteen years old. By 1462 he was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi; many of his early works have been attributed to the elder master, and attributions continue to be uncertain. Influenced also by the monumentality of Masaccio's painting, it was from Lippi that Botticelli learned a more intimate and detailed manner.

By 1470, Botticelli had his own workshop. His work was characterized by a conception of the figure as if seen in low relief, drawn with clear contours, and minimizing strong contrasts of light and shadow which would indicate fully modelled forms.

In the mid-1480s, Botticelli worked on a major fresco cycle for Lorenzo the Magnificent's villa near Volterra; in addition he painted many frescoes in Florentine churches. In 1491 he served on a committee to decide upon a façade for the Cathedral of Florence.

Botticelli never wed, and expressed a strong disliking to the idea of marriage, a prospect he claimed gave him nightmares. More on Sandro Botticelli

Anthony van Dyck, (1599–1641)
Princess Henrietta Maria of France, Queen consort of England, circa 1636 and circa 1638
Oil on canvas
San Diego Museum

Henrietta Maria of France (25 November[1609 – 10 September 1669) was queen consort of England, Scotland, and Ireland as the wife of King Charles I. She was mother of his two immediate successors, Charles II and James II.

Her Roman Catholicism made her unpopular in England, and also prohibited her from being crowned in an Anglican service. She never had a coronation. She began to immerse herself in national affairs as civil war loomed on the horizon, and was compelled to seek refuge in France in 1644, following the birth of her youngest daughter, Henrietta, during the height of the First English Civil War. The execution of King Charles in 1649 left her impoverished. She settled in Paris, and then returned to England after the Restoration of her eldest son, Charles, to the throne. In 1665, she moved back to Paris, where she died four years later.

The North American Province of Maryland was named in her honour, and the name was carried over into the current U.S. state of Maryland. More on Henrietta Maria

Sir Anthony van Dyck, ( 22 March 1599 – 9 December 1641) was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England, after enjoying great success in Italy and Flanders. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years. He also painted biblical and mythological subjects, displayed outstanding facility as a draughtsman, and was an important innovator in watercolour and etching. The Van Dyke beard is named after him. More Sir Anthony van Dyck

Guercino, (1591–1666)
The Persian Sibyl, c. (1647 - 1648)
Oil on canvas
Height: 1,170 mm (46.06 in). Width: 960 mm (37.8 in).
Capitoline Museums, Piazza del Campidoglio, Capitoline Hill, Rome, Italy.

The Persian Sibyl - also known as the Babylonian, Hebrew or Egyptian Sibyl - was the prophetic priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle.

The word "Sibyl" , meaning "prophetess, there were many Sibyls in the ancient world, but the Persian Sibyl allegedly foretold the exploits of Alexander of Macedon. She has had at least three names: Sambethe, Helrea and Sabbe.

Sambethe was said to be of the family of Noah. A painting of Sibilla Persica by Guercino hangs in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. The medieval Byzantine encyclopedia, the Suda, credits the Hebrew Sibyl as author of the Sibylline oracles, a collection of texts of the 2nd to 4th century which were collected in the 6th century. More on The Persian Sibyl 

The Persian Sybil
Oil on canvas
112 x 74cm
Private collection

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (February 8, 1591 – December 22, 1666), best known as Guercino, was an Italian Baroque painter and draftsman from the region of Emilia, and active in Rome and Bologna. The vigorous naturalism of his early manner is in contrast to the classical equilibrium of his later works. His many drawings are noted for their luminosity and lively style.

Mainly self-taught, at the age of 16, he worked as apprentice in the shop of Benedetto Gennari, a painter of the Bolognese School. By 1615, he moved to Bologna, where his work was praised by Ludovico Carracci. Guercino painted two large canvases, Elijah Fed by Ravens and Samson Seized by Philistines, for Cardinal Serra, a Papal Legate to Ferrara. These paintings have a stark naturalist Caravaggesque style, although it is unlikely that Guercino saw any of the Roman Caravaggios first-hand.

Guercino's early works are often tumultuous. He often claimed that his early style was influenced by a canvas of Ludovico Carracci that he saw in the Capuchin church in Cento. Some of his later works are closer to the style of his contemporary Guido Reni, and are painted with more lightness and clearness. More on Guercino

Michael Dahl, (1659–1743)
Portrait of Martha Langham
Oil on canvas
74 x 62cm
Private collection

Martha Langham4th daughter of Sir John Langham, as a young girl three-quarter length wearing a blue dress with a bowl of cherries and a canary, in a feigned oval. Martha died unmarried. 

Sir John Langham, 1st Baronet (20 April 1584 – 16 May 1671) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1654 and 1660.

He was the eldest son of Edward Langham of Guilsborough, Northamptonshire, who he succeeded in 1607. He was apprenticed to Sir Richard Napier, a Turkey merchant, for whom he worked in the Near East.

On his return he became a Turkey merchant himself,  and made a considerable fortune in the City of London. He built up an estate in Northamptonshire which included the purchase of the Cottesbrooke estate in 1635, (from which this painting comes). He was an alderman and sheriff of London in 1642. He was committed to the Tower of London twice, with the Lord Mayor and other aldermen of London for refusing to publish an act for the abolition of royalty. Langham died at the age of 87.  More on Sir John Langham

An acrimonious dispute within the Langhams,  one of England's oldest families, will lead to the splitting up of their unique £1 million collection of portraits and heirlooms dating back more than five centuries. Generations of family portraits will go under the hammer after Sir John Langham, 44, failed to reconcile his differences with his mother, the dowager Lady Marion Langham, 64, who lives with her French boyfriend in a bungalow on the family estate. More on the dispute

Michael Dahl  (1659–1743), see below

Michael Dahl, (1659–1743)
A portrait of Elizabeth Langham
Oil on canvas
126 x 104cm
Private collection

A portrait of Elizabeth Langham, as a young woman, standing three quarter length on a terrace, a spaniel seated beside her, flowers in an ornamental urn at her shoulder, a wooded landscape beyond. It is thought that the landscape element represents the new landscaping at Cottesbrooke. More on Cottesbrooke

Michael Dahl (Stockholm 1659-1743 London) studied in Sweden under Ehrenstrahl and began travelling in 1682, coming first to London where he may have studied under Kneller, then via Paris on to Rome in 1684. In 1687 he left Rome and came via Frankfurt to London where he settled for good in 1689. He soon became the best patronised portrait painter in England after Kneller. He was employed by Prince George of Denmark and did many portraits of the court of Queen Anne.  A great patron was the Duke of Somerset for whom he painted the famous 'Petworth Beauties'.  After 1714 he lost court patronage but painted a large number of the nobility, the Law and the Church.  His style is very close to that of Kneller and his work is often misattributed to his rival but his interpretation of character tends to be softer and less formal. More on Michael Dahl

Michael Dahl,  (1659–1743)
Portrait of a Lady, c.1700-10
Oil on canvas Oil
Height: 1,260 mm (49.61 in). Width: 1,016 mm (40 in).
Dulwich Picture Gallery, South London

Michael Dahl  (1659–1743), see above

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

08 Paintings, of The amorous game, Part 3 - With Footnotes

Filippo Indoni, (Italian, born circa 1842-1908)
The distracted shepherd
Watercolour and bodycolour 
76.5 x 54cm (30 1/8 x 21 1/4in)
Private collection

Filippo Indoni, Italian (1800 - 1884). In a reaction against the frivolous and unrealistic images of early 19th century Romanticism, artists turned to less glamorous aspects of life and society in search of a direct experience. By 1850, they had formed a relatively cohesive movement that battled for popularity with Romanticism, a far more widespread style.

This movement, known as Realism, revolutionized art, and artists took a renewed interest in genre scenes - the everyday activities of middle and lower class citizens that previously had been excluded from the fine arts. Roman-born artist Filippo Indoni embraced this artistic movement, presenting jubilant peasants reaping the rewards of their hard work, thus encouraging viewers to seek aesthetic pleasure in the unheralded members of society and moments of daily living. Realists' work such as Indoni's suggests that the everyday movements of life can be as lovely as the life-changing events. More on Filippo Indoni, Italian

Attributed to Luca Postiglione, (Italian, 1876-1936)
The stolen kiss
signed 'L.Postiglione' (lower left)
oil on canvas 
53.4 x 50.2cm (21 x 19 3/4in).
Private collection

Luca Postiglione (Naples, October 18, 1876 – 1936) was an Italian painter, mainly of portraits, and historic and genre subjects, in a Realist style.

He was the son of the painter Luigi Postiglione. His elder brother, Salvatore Postiglione was also a painter and his teacher. Luigi's uncle, Raffaele (1818–1897) was a professor at the Neapolitan Institute of Fine Arts.

Among his works are L'orfana exhibited at the Italian Exhibition in London in 1904, while Il giglio, and La Soglia were exhibited at the International Exposition in Rome in 1906. More on Luca Postiglione

Heine, A. (South Germany)
Jovial Lunch Break, c. 1901
Oil on wood
40.0 x 31.5 cm.
Private collection

Buchholz - Stark, Helene, (1902 - 1989 Berlin)
Reclining Couple in a Wide Landscape
Mixed media on wood
102.0 x 142.0 cm
Private collection

Simeon Solomon, 1840–1905
Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene, c. 1864
Watercolour on paper
330 x 381 mm
The Tate collection

The picture depicts Sappho embracing her fellow poet Erinna in a garden at Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. Sappho was born at Lesbos in about 612BC. After a period of exile in Sicily she returned to the island and was at the centre of a community of young women devoted to Aphrodite and the Muses. Although Solomon believed Erinna to have been part of this community, we now know that she lived not on Lesbos, but on the Dorian island of Télos, and slightly later than Sappho, at the end of the 4th Century BC. Sappho wrote nine books of poetry, of which only fragments survive. The principal subject of her work is the joy and frustration of love and the most complete surviving poem is an invocation to the goddess Aphrodite to help her in her relationship with a woman. More Sappho and Erinna

Simeon Solomon (9 October 1840 – 14 August 1905) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter noted for his depictions of Jewish life and same-sex desire. Born and educated in London, Solomon started receiving lessons in painting from his older brother around 1850. He started attending Carey's Art Academy in 1852. His older sister first exhibited her works at the Royal Academy during the same year.

As a student at the Royal Academy Schools, Solomon was introduced to other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. His first exhibition was at the Royal Academy in 1858. He continued to hold exhibitions of his work at the Royal Academy between 1858 and 1872. In addition to the literary paintings favoured by the Pre-Raphaelite school, 

In 1873 his career was cut short when he was arrested and charged with attempting to commit sodomy: he was fined £100. He was arrested again in 1874 in Paris, after which he was sentenced to spend three months in prison.

After his prosecutions he no longer exhibited, but achieved a degree of celebrity amongst those who shared his sensibilities: Oscar Wilde, John Addington Symonds, Count Eric Stenbock, and Walter Pater all collected his works.

In 1884 he was admitted to the workhouse where he continued to produce work, but his life and talent were blighted by alcoholism. Twenty years later in 1905, he died from complications brought on by his alcoholism. More Simeon Solomon 

Arthur Heyer, (Hungarian 1872-1931) 
Her Little Secret 
Oil on canvas 
30 x 37-1/2 in (76.2 x 95.2 cm)
Private collection

Arthur Heyer (28 February 1872, Haarhausen, Amt Wachsenburg, German Empire – 1931, Budapest, Hungary) was a German-Hungarian painter who primarily painted animals.

On the basis of his artistic talents, he attended, from 1890 to 1895, Unterrichtsanstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseums Berlin. During this period, he published his first drawings in various newspapers. In 1892 and 1895, he conducted study trips to Transylvania, where he came into contact with the local Hungarian culture. In 1896, he moved to Budapest and earned his living with book illustrations. In 1900, he became a naturalized Hungarian citizen, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1906, he held his first exhibition in Budapest, followed by numerous others. In 1909, he had two exhibitions in Thuringia, the Grand Ducal Museum in Weimar and the Kunstverein Gotha. In 1911, he received the Hungarian Count Andrássy Prize. After several exhibitions, including at the Vienna Künstlerhaus and the Glaspalast in Munich, he was appointed professor there in 1915. In 1929, the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest acquired his self-portrait. In 1931, he died in Budapest at the age of 59 and received a state funeral at Kerepesi Cemetery. More on Arthur Heyer

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828–1882
The Wedding of St George and Princess Sabra, c. 1857
Watercolour on paper
365 x 365 mm
The Tate collection

This work was executed while Rossetti and other artists were decorating the Oxford Union with medievalist murals. In Oxford, Rossetti saw Jane Burden, later Mrs William Morris, and immediately asked her to pose for him. She is the model for Princess Sabra, threading a lock of her hair through St George's helmet.

The claustrophobic composition is characteristic of much of Rossetti's work at this time. Sabra's embrace of an armoured figure, enmeshing him with her hair, and St George's distracted gaze hint at Rossetti's dilemma of being involved with Elizabeth Siddall but feeling a strong attraction for Jane. More St George and Princess Sabra

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. Rossetti was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.

Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris. More

"The porposal"
Oil on canvas
61 x 46 cm.
Private collection

Sir Ernest Albert Waterlow RA (24 May 1850 – 25 October 1919) was an English painter. He was born in London, and received the main part of his art education in the Royal Academy schools, where, in 1873, he gained the Turner medal for landscape-painting.

He was elected associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1880, member in 1894, and president in 1897; associate of the Royal Academy in 1890, and academician in 1903; and he was knighted in 1902. Sir Sydney Waterlow was his uncle.

He began to exhibit in 1872 and produced a considerable number of admirable landscapes, in oil and watercolour, handled with grace and distinction. One of his pictures, Galway Gossips, is in the Tate collection (below). More on Sir Ernest Albert Waterlow

Sir Ernest Albert Waterlow 1850–1919
Galway Gossips
Oil paint on canvas
762 x 1276 mm

Sir Ernest Albert Waterlow 1850–1919, see above

Emil Ganso, (1895-1941 German/American) 
Joyce in a Green Dress 
Oil on canvas 
30' H x 25' W 
Private collection

Emil Ganso, (1895-1941 German/American)  was born in Halberstadt, Germany in and came to the United States as a teenager. By 1914 Ganso was taking evening classes at the National Academy's School of Fine Arts while supporting himself as a baker. His work was soon identified by Erhard Weyhe who went on to show Ganso's work at the Weyhe Gallery. Ganso first exhibited at the Society of Independent Artists in 1921, as well as at the Salons of America from 1922 to 1925. By 1925 Weyhe Gallery began to represent Ganso which gave him the funds to spend his first summer in the art colony of Woodstock, New York in 1926. Weyhe Gallery continued to exhibit Ganso's work through the 1940s. 

 In 1929 Ganso visited Paris. Perhaps it was this Paris trip that sparked Ganso's interest in photography. Ganso received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1933 which he used to study and paint in Europe. In the 1930s Ganso also kept a studio at 54 West 74th Street. 

In 1930 Emil Ganso began to be invited to exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (1930-1935); the Art Institute of Chicago; the Wichita Art Museum, Kansas; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1931-1938); and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1927-1941). Emil Ganso also exhibited at both the 1939 New York World's Fair and the Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco that same year. Ganso was awarded the Pennell Memorial Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1938. As a result of the success of his art, Ganso was offered an artist-in-residence position in 1940 at the University of Iowa. It was there that he died in 1941. More on Emil Ganso 

Zichy, Mihaly von, (1827 Zala County - 1906 St. Petersburg)
The Game of Love
30.5 x 36.0 cm
Private collection

Mihály Zichy (October 15, 1827 in Zala, Hungary – February 28, 1906 in St. Petersburg, Russia) was a Hungarian painter and graphic artist.

Zichy was a significant representative of Hungarian romantic painting. During his law studies in Pest from 1842, he attended Jakab Marastoni's school as well. In Vienna he was Waldmüller's pupil in 1844. "Lifeboat", his first major work, comes from this time. On Waldmüller's recommendation, he became an art teacher in St. Petersburg. He swore allegiance to freedom by painting the portrait of Lajos Batthyány, the first Hungarian prime minister, in 1849. From 1850 onwards, he worked as a retoucher, but he also did pencil drawings, water colours and portraits in oil. His erotic drawings have a particular warm intensity in which both members of the couple seem equal partners. He settled down in Paris in 1874.

In 1881 he was in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he started working on illustrations for "The Knight in the Panther's Skin" at the request of the Georgian intelligencia. He painted 35 pictures in total. The publishing commission of the work of "The Knight in the Panther's Skin" chose 27 pictures to be included in the publication. The painter refused to take payment for the works, so impressed was he by the poem itself. Instead, he gifted the works to the Georgian people. More on Mihály Zichy

Novoskoltsev, Alexander Nikanorovich, (1853 - 1919 Russia)
Lascivious Nude on Divan
Oil on canvas
20.5 x 26.5 cm
Private collection

Novoskoltsev, Alexander Nikanorovich, (1853 - 1919 Russia) studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under Vladimir Perov and won numerous gold and silver medals for his masterfully rich historical and genre paintings. He went on to study throughout Europe and later taught at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg.  Several of his most important masterpieces hang in the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. Novoskoltsev is known to have painted a composition on a similar theme in 1886, which is listed in Fedor Bulgakov's 1890 biographical dictionary of contemporary artists Nashi khudozhniki on page 74. More on Novoskoltsev, Alexander Nikanorovich

Youssef Nabil, Egyptian, b. 1972
Sweet Temptation, c. 1993
Digital print 
31.5 x 21 in. (80.01 x 53.34 cm.)
Private collection

Fascinated by cinema in his youth, Egyptian photographer Youssef Nabil captures the contemporary paradoxes of the Middle East through the lens of fantasy. In 2003, Nabil was awarded The Seydou Keita Prize for Portraiture from the Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, Bamako, Mali and in 2005 he was honored by the International Photography Awards, Los Angeles, CA. His first film, You Never Left, was first exhibited in 2010. His work has been the subject of recent solo shows at Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris, France (2012); Nathalie Obadia Gallery, Paris, France (2011); Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY (2010); Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, GA (2010); GALERIST, Istanbul, Turkey (2009); Villa Medici, Rome, Italy (2009); The Third Line Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2009); and Volker Diehl Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2009). More on Youssef Nabil 

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14 Paintings, MODERN & CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EASTERN ART, With Footnotes - 4

Laila Shawa, B. 1940, PALESTINIAN
Acrylic on canvas
90.7 by 90.5cm.; 35¾ by 35½in
Private collection

The Zar is best described as a "healing cult" which uses drumming and dancing in its ceremonies. It also functions as a sharing of knowledge and charitable society among the women of these very patriarchal cultures. Most leaders of Zar are women, and most participants are women. Many writers have noted that while the majority of the possessing spirits are male, those possessed are generally female. This is not to say that the men do not contribute to zar ceremonies: they may help with drumming, the slaughter of ritual animals, or may themselves be a husband or relative required to make offerings to the possessing spirit. In fact, it is perhaps an unfortunate trend that in cultures where the zar becomes more visible, there is more of a tendency for men to co-opt the ceremonies, and for men to become zar leaders. More on The Zar

Laila Shawa (Born Gaza 1940) graduated summa cum laude in Fine Arts from the Italian Accademia di Belle Arti in 1964 and received a diploma in plastic arts from the Accademia San Giacomo in Rome. From 1965 to 1967, she returned to Gaza to teach arts and crafts to underprivileged children. She now lives and works in London. As a Palestinian artist, Shawa’s concern is to reflect the political realities of her country, becoming, in the process, a chronicler of events. Her work is based on a heightened sense of realism and targets injustice and persecution wherever their roots may be.

Her work has been exhibited in Italy, Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom, in most Arab countries, North Africa, Iraq, Russia, China, Japan, Malaysia and USA. She is represented in public and private collections across the world, including the National Galleries of Jordan and Malaysia, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the British Museum in London and the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. Her work is currently on tour in Brazil, in the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil’s exhibition Isla, the first major exhibition of Islamic Art in Brazil.

Khadiga Riad, B.1914, EGYPTIAN
Oil on canvas 
33 by 47cm.; 13 by 18 1/2 in.
Private collection

Nubia is a region along the Nile rivers encompassing the areas between what is today central Sudan and southern Egypt. It was the seat of one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Africa, with a history that can be traced from at least 2000 B.C., and was home to one of the African empires. Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate, resulting in the Arabization of much of the Nubian population. Nubia was again united within Ottoman Egypt in the 19th century, and within the Kingdom of Egypt from 1899 to 1956. More on Nubia

Khadiga Riad,  born in 1914 in Cairo, Egypt, studied at the Mere de Dieu college and from 1950 to 1954. She is regarded as Egypt's foremost female surrealist.

She followed an informal education in painting from the studio of the Armenian Egyptian artist Zorian between 1950 and 1955. In the 1950's she won fame as she was awarded a prize in the 1959 Alexandria Biennale. In 1960 she exhibited in the Venice Biennale and in 1962 she won the first prize in a national Egyptian painting competition. 

Riad adopted an abstract style characterized by the heavy use of a multi-layered paints delicately treated on the surface to give an ethereal and surrealist dimension to her compositions. More on Khadiga Riad

Laila Shawa, B. 1940, PALESTINIAN
Birds of Paradise, 2011
Photography and mixed media on canvas
70 x 95cm
Private collection

Shawa’s multi-media pieces have spanned four decades. As someone who has a close proximity to her native Palestine’s politics, her analysis and documentation of events there is at the core of her work. For that, it is in strength that she is known for her “uncompromising documentation of events of today’s Middle East.”  More on Laila Shawa

Shawa uses freeze-frames from this awful footage, digitally combining them with imagery edited from cartoons, news footage and photographs of dolls who serve as mute puppets re-enacting the real-time political traumas of the present. These mixed media works see-saw between hyper-realism and surreal landscapes of the imagination; between stark representation and vivid interpretation; and between brutal distortion and fantasy-fuelled idealist aspiration. More on this work

Hamed Owais, 1919-2011, EGYPTIAN
Oil on wood panel
80.8 by 65.8cm.; 31¾ by 25 7/8 in.
Private collection

Hamed Owais, 1919-2011, was born into a peasant family in the small village of Kafr Mansour. He received his primary and secondary education before becomings a metalworker. He moved to Cairo, where he joined the School of Fine Arts. After he graduated in 1944, he pursued his studies at the Institute of Art Education in Cairoi. He received his diploma in 1946 and in the following year, he founded the Group of Modern Art, together with other artists of his generation.

From 1948 to 1955, Owais worked as a drawing teacher in the Farouk Ist Secondary School in Alexandria. He traveled to Italy in 1952 and visited the Venice Biennial where the works of Italian Social Realist artists were being exhibited. In 1958, he was appointed a professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria. Owais received a scholarship to continue his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid. From 1977 to 1979, he served as the head of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria. He died in Cairo in 2011, at the age of ninety-two. More on Hamed Owais

Paul Guiragossian, 1926-1993, LEBANESE
Oil on canvas 
90 by 70cm.; 35 1/2 by 27 1/2 in.
Executed circa 1987
Private collection

Paul Guiragossian (1926 – November 20, 1993) was an Armenian Lebanese painter. Born to Armenian parents, Paul Guiragossian experienced the consequences of exile from a very tender age. Raised in boarding schools, he grew up away from his mother who had to work to make sure her two sons got an education.

In the 1950s, Guiragossian started teaching art in several Armenian schools and worked as an illustrator. He later started his own business with his brother Antoine, painting cinema banners, posters and drawing illustrations for books. Soon after he was discovered for his art and introduced to his contemporaries after which he began exhibiting his works in Beirut and eventually all over the world.

In 1956, Guiragossian won the first prize in a painting competition, which landed him a scholarship by the Italian government to study at The Academy of Fine Arts of Florence.

In 1962, Guiragossian was granted another scholarship, this time by the French Government, to study and paint in Paris at Les Atelier Des Maîtres De L'Ecole De Paris.

By the mid 1960s Guiragossian had grown to become one of the most celebrated artists in Lebanon and eventually of the Arab world and even though war broke out in the early 1970s, his attachment to Lebanon grew bigger and his works became more colorful with messages of hope for his people.

In 1989, Guiragossian went to Paris to exhibit his works in La Salle Des Pas Perdus in UNESCO and lived in the city with part of his family until 1991. In that year, he had a solo exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe. This exhibition was extended and marked the first solo show at the IMA for any artist. More on Guiragossian

Hossein Khosrojerdi, (Iran, born 1957)
Acrylic and digital print on canvas
Numbered 2/5
127.9 x 98.8cm (50 3/8 x 38 7/8in).
Private collection

Hossein Khosrojerdi (Iran, born 1957), prominent artist of his generation and well-known in Iran, was born in 1957 in Iran and graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Tehran University. He twice participated in the Triennale-India, was included in the Venice Biennale in 2003, received an award at the Sharjah Biennial in 2001 and has been a founding member of the Iranian Artists' Association.  His body of work increasingly takes a strong abstract and geometric direction which has an impactful yet refined quality. While deeply rooted in his heritage as a person. More on Hossein Khosrojerdi

Hassan Hajjaj, (Morocco, born 1961)
Sista, c. 2000
c-print on board
129.8 x 94cm (51 1/8 x 37in).
Private collection

Hassan Hajjaj (born Larache, Morocco in 1961) is a contemporary artist who lives and works between London, UK and Marrakech, Morocco.

Hajjaj's work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the British Museum, London; the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC; the Newark Museum, New Jersey; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Farjam Collection, Dubai; Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris; Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunisia; and Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA.

Hajjaj was the winner of the 2011 Sovereign Middle East and African Art Prize and was shortlisted for Victoria & Albert Museum's Jameel Prize in 2009. In 2013, Rose Issa Projects published a monograph of the artist exploring his upbringing in Morocco and London. More on Hassan Hajjaj

Georges Hanna Sabbagh, 1877 - 1951, EGYPTIAN
signed and dated G.H. Sabbagh 1940
oil on canvas 
73 by 60cm.; 28 3/4 by 23 5/8 in
Private collection

The Mosque of Ibn Tulun is located in Cairo, Egypt. It is arguably the oldest mosque in the city surviving in its original form, and is the largest mosque in Cairo in terms of land area.

The mosque was commissioned by Ahmad ibn Tulun, the Turkic Abbassid governor of Egypt from 868–884 whose rule was characterized by de facto independence. The historian al-Maqrizi lists the mosque's construction start date as 876 AD,[1] and the mosque's original inscription slab identifies the date of completion as AH 265 (878/879). More on The Mosque of Ibn Tulun

Georges Hanna Sabbagh (1877–1951) was an Egyptian-born French artist, born at Alexandria to a Catholic family of Lebanese origin. He studied art in Paris, being the first Egyptian at the Louvre School. He was a pupil of Paul Sérusier, Félix Vallotton and the Symbolist painter Maurice Denis, and worked beside Amedeo Modigliani. His family and the region of Brittany provided him with subjects for many of his paintings, before trips to Egypt led him to rediscover the lights, landscapes and characters of his childhood. He excelled in portraits, nudes and landscapes both in France and in Egypt. A painter of talent, Georges Sabbagh forms one of the group of artists who Jean Cassou called "the sacrificed generation", absorbing the school of Les Nabis, Fauvism and Cubism at the beginning of the century, but forgotten after the Second World War.  More on Georges Hanna Sabbagh

Georges Hanna Sabbagh, 1877 - 1951, EGYPTIAN
Oil on canvas 
66 by 81.5cm.; 26 by 32in.
Private collection

The Aswan Low Dam or Old Aswan Dam is a gravity masonry buttress dam on the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt. The dam was built at the former first cataract of the Nile. When initially constructed between 1899 and 1902, nothing of its scale had ever been attempted; on completion, it was the largest masonry dam in the world. The dam was designed to provide storage of annual floodwater and augment dry season flows to support greater irrigation development and population growth in the lower Nile. The dam, originally limited in height by conservation concerns, worked as designed, but provided inadequate storage capacity for planned development and was raised twice, between 1907 and 1912 and again in 1929–1933. These heightenings still did not meet irrigation demands and in 1946 it was nearly over-topped in an effort to maximize pool elevation. This led to the investigation and construction of the Aswan High Dam 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) upstream. More on the Aswan Dam 

Georges Hanna Sabbagh, 1877 - 1951, EGYPTIAN, see above

Lalla Essaydi, Moroccan, b. 1956
Les Femmes du Maroc: Harem #11, 2009
Chromogenic prints (c-print) mounted on aluminum, in three parts
40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm.)
Private collection

Moroccan born photographer Lalla Essaydi explores Arab female identity by hand-painting Arabic calligraphy in henna on different surfaces such as female bodies, fabric and walls. Through her compositions, Essaydi references nineteenth century Orientalist style and rejects traditional objectified representations of Arab women. The artist critiques French painters such as Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Eugène Delacroix who often painted middle-eastern harems filled with eroticized Arab female bodies. Her photographs address and deconstruct the complex power structures imposed on the Arab female body by alluding to historical stereotypes. More on Lalla Essaydi

Lalla Essaydi, Moroccan, b. 1956
Harem, #12
Private collection

In her series Harem, Essaydi refers to the dangerous nature of the harem, contrasting the idealistic setting that Western artists previously depicted. The artist places her figures within the Moroccan Palace Dar El Basha and dresses them in patterns similar to the palace’s mosaics, wood carvings and stained glass. By camouflaging the women’s bodies into the background, Essaydi illustrates how women seemingly appear as another piece of décor in the room. To counter societal norms, Essaydi utilizes calligraphy and applies henna to adorn the female bodies. The text is not necessarily meant to be read or understood, but rather alludes symbolically to the restrictions faced by women in today’s societies and how they find their voice despite all imposed restrictions. Through the perspective of an Arab woman living in a Western world, Lalla Essaydi redefines Arab female identity. More on Lalla Essaydi

Harem #15, 2009
Chromogenic print mounted to aluminum with a UV protective laminate
30 × 40 in, 76.2 × 101.6 cm
Edition of 15
Private collection

Harem a sacred inviolable place; for female members of the family. Harem properly refers to domestic spaces that are reserved for the women of the house in a Muslim family and are inaccessible to adult males except for close relations. Similar institutions have been common in other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations, especially among royal and upper-class families and the term is sometimes used in non-Islamic contexts. The structure of the harem and the extent of monogamy or polygamy has varied depending on the family's personalities, socio-economic status, and local customs. A harem may house a man's wife—or wives and concubines, as in royal harems of the past.

In the West, Orientalist imaginary conceptions of the harem as a fantasy world of forbidden sexuality where numerous women lounged in suggestive poses have influenced many paintings, stage productions, films and literary works. Several European Renaissance paintings dating to the 16th century defy Orientalist tropes and portray the women of the Ottoman harem as individuals of status and political significance. In many periods of Islamic history women in the harem exercised various degrees of political power. Harem. More on the Harem

More on Lalla Essaydi, above

Mahmoud Said, 1897-1964, EGYPTIAN
Oil on panel 
68 by 98cm.; 26 3/4 by 38 5/8 in
Private collection

Mahmoud Said, 1897-1964, EGYPTIAN. Born into a wealthy Alexandrian family, Mahmoud Said first studied jurisprudence at the French School of Law in Cairo in the 1910s. During his studies, he became interested in painting, and joined the studios of Italian painters Amelia Casonato da Forno and Arturo Zanieri, before travelling to France to study in Paris, briefly at the Académie Julian. Though he worked for almost thirty years as a lawyer and then a judge, he continued to paint in his free time until he quit law in the late 1940s and devoted himself to art completely. He is considered the foremost painter of the ‘Pioneer’ generation of Egyptian artists, renowned for his bold, richly coloured portraits, nudes, and landscapes. He painted continuously until his death in 1964.

 Said’s works are housed in private and public collections including Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Museum of Modern Egyptian Art, Cairo; Mahmoud Said Museum, Alexandria, and Ministry of Culture, Egypt. More

Sohrab Sepehri,1928-1980,IRANIAN
oil on canvas 
97 by 126cm.; 38 1/8 by 49 1/2 in.
Private collection

Sohrab Sepehri (Persian: Sohrāb Sepehri‎‎) (October 7, 1928 – April 21, 1980) was a notable Iranian poet and a painter. He was born in Kashan, Iran. He is considered to be one of the five most famous Iranian poets who have practiced modern poetry. 

Sepehri was also one of Iran's foremost modernist painters.

Well-versed in Buddhism, mysticism and Western traditions, he mingled the Western concepts with Eastern ones, thereby creating a kind of poetry unsurpassed in the history of Persian literature. To him, new forms were new means to express his thoughts and feelings.

His poetry has been translated into many languages including English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish, Arabic, Turkish and Russian. An English translation of his selected poems by Ali Salami appeared in 2003.

Sepehri died in Pars hospital in Tehran of leukemia. His poetry is full of humanity and concern for human values. He loved nature and refers to it frequently. More on Sohrab Sepehri,

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