“Selections of European Art” is the title of an exhibition that opened 15 September at the Sate-owned Aisha Fahmy Palace, also known as the Arts Complex, in Zamalek, Cairo. Egypt’s Culture Minister, Ines Abdel-Dayem opened the exhibition which runs till the end of October 2020.
Following lockdown that started last March on account of coronavirus, and gradual reopening once daily cases and deaths of COVID-19 substantially declined, the exhibition is the fifth in the series “Treasures of Our Art Museums”, which gives Egyptians the opportunity to enjoy masterpieces of art displayed in various museums in Egypt. This exhibition shows pieces that belong to the 18th and 19th centuries.
Artworks on display comprise 100 paintings and sculptures by European artists among whom are Paul Gauguin, Rodin, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Degas. The paintings have been selected from the acquisitions of al-Gezira Art Museum in Cairo, and Mahmoud Mukhtar Museum of Fine Arts in Alexandria. These rich acquisitions remind that Egypt was and still is a destination for all kinds of arts from all over the world.
Among the most prominent artworks on display are the “Thinker” bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin. The sculpture shows a nude male figure of heroic size sitting on a rock with his chin resting on one hand as though deep in thought, often used as an image to represent philosophy. There is also the painting of sunflowers by the impressionist Claude Monet.
Both museums, Gezira in Cairo and Mahmoud Mukhtar in Alexandria, represent the most important museums not only in Egypt but also in the Middle East. They have among their private collections large number of artworks by Egyptian artists, as well as masterpieces by artists belonging to the romantic, baroque, rococo, and expressionist movements, as well as a number of orientalist paintings.
The Aisha Fahmy palace was built in 1907 by Khedive Abbas Helmy and designed by the famous Italian architect Antonio Lashak to be the home of Princess Aisha, the daughter of Ali Pasha Fahmy, chief commander of the army under King Fouad who reigned in 1917 – 1936. Its total area covers over 2,700 square metres and includes 30 rooms, two large halls, a basement and a roof, all richly ornamented.
21 September 2020
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