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 Samir Rafi'  (1926 - 2004)

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Lived/Active: Egypt      Known for: painting

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from Auction House Records.
La femme du pecheur
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Biography from Ayyam Auctions:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Samir Rafi, a prominent Egyptian modernist, was widely known for combining international trends with traces of Pharaonic art in compositions that poignantly depicted modern day Egypt. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the School of Fine Arts in Cairo, where he focused on the decorative arts, he went on to complete a PhD in art history from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1953. Returning to Egypt a midst the fervor of pan-Arab nationalism, he exhibited extensively in Cairo and worked alongside a number of artists who were seeking to express a national identity through the symbolic, and whose aesthetic had fully divorced itself from the legacy of colonialism. After teaching decorative arts at the School of Fine Arts in Cairo, he later moved to Algeria, where he taught art history. Rafi was among a number of influential pioneers who chose to focus on images and scenes of everyday life rather than the romanticized or embellished portraits of the upper echelons of Egyptian society that had dominated local art prior to Gamal Abdel Nasser’s revolution. When placed within this important historical context, in which Egypt was experiencing radical cultural transformations with artists and intellectuals often at the helm, his seemingly modest compositions, are in fact quite earth shattering. The manner in which he depicted his subjects is also striking, as they exude a certain foreboding and their melancholy dispositions seem to point to a cautious (almost apprehensive) outlook towards Egypt’s future.

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