• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7665

    International Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 April 2008, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 10

    Fateh Moudarres (Syrian, 1922-1999)

    Wedding in The Kalamoon Mountains, Syria

    Price Realised  

    Fateh Moudarres (Syrian, 1922-1999)
    Wedding in The Kalamoon Mountains, Syria
    signed and dated 'MOUDARRES 77' and signed again in Arabic (lower right); signed titled and dated 'F. MOUDARRES 1977 WEDDING IN KALAMOON MOUNTAINS SYRIA', and signed, titled and dated in Arabic (on the reverse)
    oil, sand and gold leaf on canvas
    51 1/8 x 72 7/8in. (130 x 185cm.)
    Painted in 1977


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    Upon his return from Italy late 1950s, Moudaress abandoned the traditional formulas of painting prevalent in Syria and began to create a language where his vocabulary was drawn from the primitive and ancient arts of his country. In his expressionistic idiom reality is mixed with fiction. The heroes are taken both from the present and from ancient civilisations, and are both nameless peasants and legendary figures. Their square-shaped heads recall those of Assyrian statuary, and those of the figures in Palmyrene frescos, and also of early Christian iconography. These characters are enriched with warm and vibrant colours and executed in a variety of ways, sometimes with dense application of paint, sometimes scratched, or stippled, or with the addition of sand. Often a specific group of colours, such as red and black, or white and fawn, will dominate the painting.

    Growing up Fateh Moudarres spent much time in the countryside, but the agricultural crisis of the 1960s forced him to relocate to Damascus. The city at that time was experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and fast becoming an increasingly cramped and hostile environment in which to live and work. These conditions were compounded by the political and social unrest sweeping the Arab World. Against this backdrop Moudarres, along with several his artist contemporaries, often sought to depict the everyday people and the problems they encountered. He was especially moved by the life of ordinary people in the Syrian countryside. For them, what on the surface which can often incorrectly be characterized as an idyllic existence was in fact a way of life marred by problems caused by social upheavals. The present composition depicts the life of the simple peasants, showing the country bride and wedding party. In such a scene one might expect to see joyful celebration, but instead there is a palpable aura of sadness, as Moudarres reveals something of his feelings about suffering and helplessness of these women in the rural areas.

    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR, PARIS