Lot 23
  • 23

Fouad Kamel

22,000 - 28,000 GBP
93,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Fouad Kamel
  • Untitled (The Drinker)
  • signed and dated Fouad Kamel 1941
  • oil on board 


Mrs. Mona Kamel, Cairo 
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in the 1980s

Catalogue Note

Just twenty years old, Fouad Kamel was one of the youngest painters partaking in the first exhibition hosted by the Art and Freedom movement. Sotheby’s is honoured to be offering a selection the earliest works by Fouad Kamel. With Woman with a Horse (lot 22), painted at only 19 and depicting a woman intertwined with a horse’s head; both with slanted eyes staring away from the viewer. Famed critic Ghaly Shoukry noted: “The paintings of Fouad Kamel (in the years 1939, 1941 and 1944) express themselves with the aspiration toward the future, by his mixing the original romantic feeling with a surrealistic touch coming like the gunfire of the Second World War". For his horse’s head (1939) poses Freudian significations; his human head (1941) has eyes protruding toward the unknown, and the hurricane storms (1944) stick out their blazing tongues “to infuriate the sleeping dream with a nightmare of horror” (Samir Gharib, p. 43-44).

A poet, illustrator and artist – Fouad Kamel had a fertile imagination. Informed by the likes of Pablo Picasso and other cubist and surrealist artist of that period, Kamel tried to convey a relationship between humans and inorganic subjects, such as a chair or a glass, as seen in The Drinker (Lot 23). Prior to his immersion into the realm of Surrealism, Fouad Kamel was known as a notable portrait painter, with academic skills in anatomical study, which is carried onto his Surrealist style. In Portrait of a Woman (Lot 24), we see Kamel’s capacity to mathematically convey the divisions of the woman’s face and hands in evenly and well-defined Cubist geometry. Fouad Kamel, shifted to the theme of abstraction by the end of the late 1950s and the beginning of the early 1960s as seen in in the Untitled diptych on paper (lot 27) - a much later development from his Art and Freedom contemporaries.  

Sotheby’s is also privileged to be offering an additional two examples from affiliates of the Art and Freedom movement; a still life example by Amy Nimr (Lot 26) and an Untitled painting (lot 28) by Greek Egyptian artist - Mayo. This is the first time an Amy Nimr work has appeared in a public auction, and is believed to have been executed during her years of studies at The Slade School of Fine Art, London. For Mayo, 1948 was a pivotal year with an exhibition in France, supported by major figures such as Albert Camus as well as being dedicated to the Egyptian writer and poet, Joseph Ascar-Nahas.