Lot 7
  • 7

ABDULRAHMAN AL SOLIMAN | Worshippers leaving the Mosque

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
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  • Abdulrahman Al Soliman
  • Worshippers leaving the Mosque 
  • signed in Arabic and dated 1981; signed, titled and dated on the reverse 
  • oil on canvas
  • 75.8 by 101.2cm.; 29 3/4 by 39 7/8 in.


Collection of the Artist, Dammam 
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner 


Dubai, Art Dubai Modern, That Feverish Leap into the Fierceness of Life: A look at five artist groups in five Arab cities across five decades, March 2018


Exhib. Cat., Dubai, Art Dubai Modern, That Feverish Leap into the Fierceness of Life: A look at five artist groups in five Arab cities across five decades, March 2018, p. 129, illustrated in colour 


Condition: This work is in very good condition. Two very faint scratches to the upper-right area. Upon closer inspection, some very faint craquelure to the upper-right centre of the painting. Two minute, pin hole sized abrasions to the centre of the painting and a further pin hole sized paint loss to the centre left. The canvas is well-lined. Some very faint signs of retouching to the upper and lower right corners. Colour: The colour in the catalogue illustration is accurate with the overall hues being less yellow and less saturated in the original.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Abdulrahman Al Soliman’s paintings are created from memory; his canvases celebrate images of home, farms, markets as well as the distinctive and delicate women in his life. Towards the end of the 1970s, Al Soliman began to strongly identify with the “local art” movement. He actively embraced this artistic persona and deeply believed in drawing attention to all facets of his national Saudi Arabian heritage and local memory. His first exhibition in 1973 was organized by Al Itifaq Club in Dammam. He studied and developed his practice alongside the artist Mousaed Al-Ghrami and other members of the groundbreaking Dar Al Funoon Al Sa’udiyyah (The Saudi Art House), the first independent space entirely dedicated to art in Saudi. The members of the group included Mohammed Al Saleem and Abdulhalim Radwi. Sotheby's is delighted to present two rare cubist works by Al Soliman. These works are the ultimate amalgamation of things seen and experienced, of images that influence and breathe life into his work. Worshippers leaving the Mosque and A Woman Sitting (Afternoon Session) are prime examples of Al Soliman’s affinity for local architecture and nature, and illustrate his artistic techniques and holistic approach. The uncanny resemblance to many European Cubists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque demonstrate the mimetic quality of the artist's early body of work – light and shadows in a very sophisticated architectural setting. 

It is also important to note that these rare works were produced amid a transitional period in Saudi, against a backdrop of social shifts transpiring in the early 1980s as Saudi society steered towards a more conservative societal trajectory. The transitory period is reflected within the works by means of a retained innocence and romanticism. There is a delicacy depicted through the simplicity of Al Soliman’s works; the subtle colours, strong shadows and peacefulness are a testimony of the artist's love of his country, a place he calls home. One can engage a graceful and forgiving nostalgia delivered through these early Saudi cubist works. Subsequent to the transitory period, local artworks were prone to ambiguity and austerity, deviating from the unadorned influence and innocence of local surroundings. 

Al Soliman’s artistic influences can perhaps best be explained by his multifaceted contribution to the art scene. He is both an artist and author. In his role as an art critic he published The March of Saudi Art in 2000, which is an in depth examination of Saudi art, and serves as a source of information for many recent articles and young emerging artists. Currently Al Soliman is the Fine Arts Editor for Al Yaum Newspaper and has been in his role since 1983. Although his text focuses on local art, it gains relevance due to his wider knowledge of art history. Art criticism after all must presume a holistic understanding of the art world. Thus, while his vision is one that approaches Arab art in its totality, he is ultimately an artist whose work is coloured by a multitude of influences, developing his style into one more intimately involved within the context of his local community.

The significance of these two momentous works remain strongly relevant; both works were also recently included in the ground-breaking exhibition at Art Dubai Modern The Feverish Leap into the Fierceness of Life: A look at five artist groups in five Arab cities across five decades in March 2018, curated by Dr. Sam Bardouil and Till Fellrath.