57
57
Salah Yousri
EGYPTIAN
UNTITLED (SITTING NUDE) 
Estimate
2,0003,000
LOT SOLD. 5,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
57
Salah Yousri
EGYPTIAN
UNTITLED (SITTING NUDE) 
Estimate
2,0003,000
LOT SOLD. 5,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

20th Century Art / Middle East

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London

Salah Yousri
1923 - 1984
EGYPTIAN
UNTITLED (SITTING NUDE) 
signed Yousry on the reverse 
oil on canvas 
65 by 50cm.; 25 1/2 by 19 3/4 in.
Executed circa 1950. 
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The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Mrs. Lily Yousry-Jouve.

Provenance

Collection of the Family of the Artist, Paris
Private Collection, Paris (acquired directly from the above in 2017)
Private Collection, Paris

Catalogue Note

One of Egypt’s forgotten modernist artists, Salah Yousri was born in Cairo in 1923 and graduated with a degree from the Fine Arts School of Cairo in 1947. Upon graduation, Yousri had his first solo exhibition at Cairo’s Galerie Goldemberg and later left for Paris to study in the atelier of famed Parisian Cubist artist, André Lhote. While initially emulating Lhote’s cubist mannerism, it was in Paris that Yousri was truly able to develop his oeuvre and style – one that drew on his Egyptian heritage and ultimately, allowed for the ancient Egyptian folkloric aesthetic to find its way into the artistic narrative.

The present works, Untitled (Sitting Nude) and Untitled (Still Life) pay homage to Yousri’s mentor André Lhote and are beautiful examples of cubist influence with traces of Egyptian orientalism. With his masterful use of colour and definitive lines, Yousri manages to convey strikingly vivid images, though softened with a more subdued palette – perhaps, therein his genius: the gentle marriage of forms. 

Yousri advanced a new type of art. It was upon his return from Paris that he became a member of the Modern Art Group (established in 1947). In 1948 he spent two years extensively studying hieroglyphics in Luxor, rendering a form of Cubism that was distinctly his and imbued with Pharaonic art. Within this movement, he was in the company of fellow artists: Ezzeldine Hammouda, Zeinab Abdel Hamid and sculptor Gamal El Sigini. Though each produced distinctive works, the underlying commonality was their modernist interpretation of Egyptian folklore.

Lhote’s influence on Yousri was a profound one, and extended as far as the Egyptian modernist movement itself. As a critic and educator, Lhote had a brief albeit profound influence at a time when the country was trying to reclaim its national identity after a post colonial era. Lhote’s expertise was acknowledged by Egypt’s Minister of Public Instruction, Taha Hussein Bey, who invited Lhote to give lectures from 1950 to 1952. Lhote widely recognised the Middle Eastern and North African sources from which modern art derived and emphasised its importance to his students. He further encouraged the public to become more engaged with visual art and urged artists to address prevalent social issues. This also coincided with Nasser’s agenda to utilise culture as a tool to shape Egypt’s ex-colonial independent identity.

Lhote’s impact was considerable, but Yousri’s unique approach to painting is distinctive. His style and form gained international recognition. Yousri exhibited at the 1952 Venice Biennale as well as at international galleries across Europe including André Weil and Galerie Mariac in Paris.

Salah Yousri resettled in Paris in 1956 where he stayed with his family until his death in 1984.

20th Century Art / Middle East

|
London