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 Seif Wanly  (1906 - 1979)

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Lived/Active: Egypt      Known for: painting

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Sotheby's Doha:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Seif Wanly, alongside his brother Edham Wanly, was part of the burgeoning art scene in Alexandria from the 1940s through to the late 1960s.  One of the foremost Egyptian artists of his time, Seif Wanly was the first to open a practicing studio in 1932. 

Whilst Edham was preoccupied with daily life and the nature which surrounded him, often painting sea views which were a focal point for Alexandrians, Seif Wanly was arguably more inspired by the human form.  The two brothers studied under the tutelage of Alexandrian based Italian artist Ottorino Bechi.  Unlike Edham, whose artwork lay solely in depicting landscapes, Seif studied and explored an extensive variety of themes throughout his artist career.  He accomplished a thorough exploration of an assortment of subjects throughout his oeuvre, from still life, to landscape, to figurative; however, the majority of Seif Wanly's artworks are devoted to the movement and energy emitted from the human body.

Much like Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Seif was fascinated by ballet dancers and could often be found backstage at the European productions of famous ballets in Alexandria sketching the performers.  Unlike Degas, who referred to himself as a Realist, Seif preferred to convey movement and emotion through Expressionism.  When utilizing this painting style to depict his figures, Seif generates the energy of dance: the twirling motion of the ballerinas’ bodies illuminated by moonlight against the expansive backdrop of the night successfully encompasses this atmospheric performance.  The spinning energy of his figures blurs their features, while the sharp treatment of their hands and feet suggests a dynamic rapidity that is evocative of performance.  Via his painting, Seif initially explored themes and influences of Impressionism and Cubism, later immersing himself in the manner of Fauvism. 

The famed Egyptian art critic Aime Azar, when comparing Seif and Edham's works, commented, “Whereas Edham had concrete and defining lines; Seif excelled and surpassed his brother focusing on the themes of the ballet and the circus. Seif was able to demonstrate the simple effervescence of the subject with subtle brushstrokes and emotive movements.

Biography from Auctionata:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Seif Wanly (1906-1979)
Seif Wanly was born in Alexandria as the son of an aristocratic family. Wanly received private painting lessons from an early age onwards. Seif Wanly is known for introducing modern art to Egypt. He studied at the studio of Otorino Becchi in Italy. In the 1940s, he founded a studio together with his brother Adham Wanly in Cairo.

His works were shown in numerous, international exhibitions, including the Venice and Sao Paulo (Brazil) Biennales. His works, as well as those of his brother, can be seen at the Mahmoud Said Museum in Alexandria.

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