A letter from Gibran Khalil Gibran to Marie El Khoury

Ranging from declarations of love and outpourings of grief to observations on sales, or the lack of them, our collection of letters from and to artists offers a rare and fascinating glimpse into the private world of a creative force

While artists will always express themselves first and foremost through their work, what they say to loved ones and colleagues in writing can be equally revealing, as our collection of letters on the following pages shows. The compilation is both varied and inspirational, comprising a mix of correspondence provided by the historian and curator, Sam Bardaouil, whose book and show on the Surrealism movement in Egypt are featured later on in this edition, and extensive research undertaken by the Selections team.

Some of the correspondence is factual, giving us a wonderful insight into the challenges that artists faced when attempting to promote or sell their work, while other notes are brimming with emotion.

To : Marie El Khoury
From: Gibran Khalil Gibra

27 Tyler St. (Boston)

O Beloved Marie

Beginning Sunday and up till this hour, I have been among friends and acquaintances, like a boat in the middle of the sea rolled by the waves and buffeted by winds. I became tired of being honoured and flattered and invited, however, I am yearning for the golden corner that is filled with quiet and silence – and now, I stole an hour away from my friends and came to a room to be alone and talk to you to revive my spirit with ideas and dreams that swim around my head when I sit alone and think of you. You, Marie, are like the pure morning breeze carrying the fragrance of flowers and breaths of bouquets. So, when I think of you I feel an internal calm, as though my spirits have been bathed by waves of this perfumed breeze.

Christmas has passed, but it left nothing except regret, longing and sad memories. However, I put on an appearance of happiness and joy in front of those whom I like and who like me. And I hate putting on appearances, even the kind that make other people happy. Holidays, Marie, are seasons of happiness for some people, but seasons of sadness for many.

I will return to New York by the end of the week, and were it not for some work, I would return tomorrow, but life steers us sometimes through valleys and other times to the top of the mountains. And even though I consider myself to be free, I am still obliged to give my work, and the relationships it has created with others, attention.

I long for you, O Marie, with all the yearning of fire. I long for the playing, laughter and smiles, and for the touch of your hands and your shoulders. And I long for your teasing me!!

Think about me a little if you are able, and allow me to place a small kiss—a very small kiss— on your tender palm.

May the heavens keep you


Provided by Sotheby’s

Courtesy of Sotheby’s



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