Lot 47
  • 47

Shakir Hassan Al-Said

30,000 - 40,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Shakir Hassan al-Said
  • The Family 
  • signed in Arabic; signed Shaker Hassan Al Said, titled and dated 1953 on the reverse 
  • oil on wood


Bissan Gallery, Doha
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2001

Catalogue Note

Born in Samawah in 1925 Shakir Hassan Al-Said is considered to be one the most eminent and influential artists of Iraq. Throughout his lifetime, Shakir Hassan Al-Said has been the most versatile Iraqi modernist of his generation – a curious, emancipated and adventurous explorer that has constantly pushed the boundaries of Iraqi modernism. At the onset of his career in the early 1950s, he questioned notions of Iraqi national identity. Alongside Jewad Selim, they challenged prescribed norms with the vigour, naiveté and idealism that youth inspires. The result was the establishment of one of the greatest influential art movements in the Arab world: The Baghdad Group of Modern Art (Jama'at Baghdad lil-Fann al-Hadith) in 1951. The group had the challenging task to "reform" and rethink the artistic developments of a modern discourse largely defined by opulent and classical markers of heritage.

Following his formal education in painting at the Institute of Fine Arts, in Baghdad between 1949 through 1954, he received a state scholarship upon graduation to further pursue his studies. He further developed on his arts education in Paris between 1955 through 1959 studying painting and art history at the Académie Julien, the École des Arts Decoratifs and the École Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts.

Prior to his move to Paris, Shakir Hassan Al-Said’s rendition of a family as a subject matter played significant part of his oeuvre. As seen in the present work, Al-Said draws on the folkloric iconography of the Iraqi identity to present a cubist interpretation of family. He intertwines elements of abstraction as seen in the foreground of the painting with central figurative characters which are divided in a lattice like web further amplifying the cubist mannerism.  Al-Said’s works from the late 1940s up until 1954, when he left for Paris, were characterized by a palette that drew from the same tribal colours used in Iraqi ancient carpets. The body of his works prior to the Paris years showed an affinity and a fascination with themes that were fashionable in Europe; yet avant-garde for the Iraqi art scene.