A letter from Georges Henein to Ramses published in Letters from the Past Issue

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 : Ramses
From: Georges Henein

My dear Ramses

What have you been up to? For two or three months and since I received the philosopher’s stone, the touchstone of the unknowable, I have had no news from you.

I recently had trouble with the painters who were pretending to represent the continuation of ‘Art et Liberte’: Kamal Youssef — Hassan — Gazzar -Nada — Masseouda — etc. They planned to form a new group, ‘Art et Culture’. But when it came to defining its objectives, they were talking about ‘the national personality of the artist’, and eliminating artists like Eric de Nemes, pretending that he didn’t express the quintessence of Egyptian life and that there was nothing really to admire. That’s it, we have to paint a gamousse, a goza, a sakia, a kouttab class.

Everything is tainted with cosmopolitism, the absolute worst, a morally fuzzy fascism, enveloped in an incurable ignorance. Futile beginnings convince us that the country is not sufficiently mature to cope with the ‘effendis’ in uniform.

Thanks to the tension these days, Zehir showed a combination of comical innocence, malice and a spark of life. Our dear librarian prepared his candidacy for some dubious elections for the hundredth time …. Did you read the last Abellio? Why does it have to be subjected to this odious terminology? Some of the passages (relating to the science of evolution) are excellent but, still, how much nonsense enveloped in a barbarian language?

For you, our nostalgic recollections


Provided by Sam Bardaouil

Courtesy of Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, copyright: The Farhi/Henein Estate Archive, Paris

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

selections-arts-logo

SELECTIONS is a platform for the arts, focusing on the Arab World.

Selections editorial presents a quarterly print magazine and weekly online publication with high quality content on all subjects related to Art and Culture. Full of world-leading artworks, exquisite brand imagery, original creative illustrations and insightful written articles.
Selections Viewing Rooms presents carefully curated online art shows aiming not only to shed light on contemporary art executed by living artists, but also for viewers to buy contemporary fine art, prints & multiples, photography, street art and collectibles.
Discover the previous and current shows here.
Cultural Narratives foundation is an extensive collection that is travelling the world by leading established and emerging talents aiming to reflect the culture of the region in their works.

RANDOM READS
© Stas Maksimov - UNION, Omar Rajeh

OMAR RAJEH, KNIGHTHOOD OF THE ORDER OF ARTS AND LETTERS

The Minister of Culture in France Mrs. Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin distinguishes…

Moataz Nasr, Barzakh, 2021. Wood and metal, 14 m x 4 m. Credit Pixcelle Photography Studios

FOREVER IS NOW AT THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

Forever Is Now is a contemporary art exhibition that brings…

Installation view of “Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians—The Mohammed Afkhami Collection” on view at Asia Society Museum September 10, 2021 through May 8, 2022. Farhad Moshiri, Flying Carpet, 2007 and Mahmoud Bakhshi, Tulips Rise from the Blood of the Nation’s Youth from the Industrial Revolution series, 2008, courtesy of Mohammed Afkhami Foundation. Photograph © Bruce M. White, 2021, courtesy of Asia Society

REBEL, JESTER, MYSTIC, POET: CONTEMPORARY PERSIANS—THE MOHAMMED AFKHAMI COLLECTION

Presented by Asia Society Museum, Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary…

Marwan Chamaa, C120N1, 2021. Oil on canvas, 120 x 120 cm

THE CASINO SERIES BY MARWAN CHAMAA

The Casino Series strips down the stunning view of the…

Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi

WHAT TO EXPECT AT ABU DHABI ART FAIR

Abu Dhabi Art expands beyond the notion of a traditional…

Installation view_ Gaïa Fodoulian and Nathaniel Rackowe, Drop by Drop, 2021. Painted stainless steel and LED lights. 100 x 100 x 240cm. Image courtesy of AD Leb

LOST IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION | AD LEB

Lost in the right direction is the second exhibition from…

december 2021

08sepAll Day13febPACITA ABAD | I THOUGHT THE STREETS WERE PAVED WITH GOLD

18sep10:0618dec10:06VANTAGE POINT SHARJAH 9

21sepAll Day02janLUMIÈRES DU LIBAN - ART MODERNE ET CONTEMPORAIN DE 1950 À AUJOURD'HUI