• International Modern & Contemp auction at Christies

    Sale 7893

    International Modern & Contemporary Art, Including Masterpieces from The Collection of Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi

    27 April 2010, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 25

    Mahmoud Said (Egyptian, 1897-1964)

    Sunset On The Nile At Luxor

    Price Realised  


    Mahmoud Said (Egyptian, 1897-1964)
    Sunset On The Nile At Luxor
    signed and dated 'M. SAID 1945' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    25 1/8 x 31 3/8in. (64 x 79.7cm.)
    Painted in 1945

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    This wonderfully evocative landscape incorporates with extraordinary fluidity many of Mahmoud Said's beloved motifs. The elegant veiled woman bearing a jar, recalling the work of Mokhtar (see note for lot 26); fellucas, those quintessentially Egyptian vessels with their abstracted triangular sales; the dreamy play of light from the sky to the water, with its harmony of colour, making both seem of the same essence. Underlying all of this is the Said's rigorous sense of geometry. As is typical of his paintings, the interplay of verticals and diagonals lend the composition a sense of dyanamism and movement.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    "Mahmoud Said was the closest artist to my heart with his interpretations of the Alexandria quarters in which I lived during my youth. My admiration for his work was not only for the subjects he chose but also for his unique style of interpretation- the enchanting warmth of his colors created the impression that the objects of the paintings basked in the sun's golden rays. Mahmoud Said's paintings firmly established the basis for the modern Egyptian art of painting"
    Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi

    MAHMOUD SAID (1897 - 1964)

    Mahmoud Said was born to an aristocratic Alexandrian family which lived in Anfoushi district in Alexandria, near Al-Moursi Abu'l-Abbas Mosque. His father, Mohammed Said Pasha, Said's father and Egypt's Prime Minister, was a keen supporter of culture and arts. He was uncle of Queen Farida, King Farouk's first wife. He graduated from the French School of Law in 1919. He worked as a lawyer, prosecutor, and then as judge in Mansouria, Alexandria and Cairo, rising to the office of Justice Councillor of the Alexandria Mixed Court. He resigned from legal work finally in 1947, to dedicate himself solely to his art.

    Taught by the Italian artist, Emilha Fazotano de Foreno, a resident of Alexandria who had studied at the Florence Academy, Said quickly learnt the classical methods of drawing faces, harmonization of colours and shading. He took further lessons by with another Florentine artist Artoro Zananeri, before leaving for Paris in 1920 for further study. His great innovation was in adapting the techniques of Western painting to express an individual and national character. This is a dominant characteristic in his work from the late 1920s onwards, and that which sets him apart from other painters of the First Generation. During these years the National Egyptian Movement flourished as did the formation of an 'Egyptian' character for Egyptian art. A favourite subject in his paintings were women and girls. Said used the same model from Alexandria throughout his life, drawing and painting her in many guises- poor, bourgeois, and even aristocratic.

    Mahmoud Said participated in international exhibitions in Venice, Madrid and Alexandria. He staged exhibitions in New York, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Alexandria and Cairo. He was admitted to the French Legion d'Honneur, winning a medal for Honorary Merit in 1951, and in 1960 was the first artist to be awarded the State Merit Award for Arts by Egyptian President Gamal Abdul-Nasser.



    Esmat Dawastashy, Mahmoud Said (in Arabic), Cairo, 1997 (illustrated in colour, p. 213), and fig. 164 in the list of known works
    Sobhy Al-Sharouny, A Museum in a Book: The Farsi Art Collection "The Egyptian Works" Owned by Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi, Cairo, 1998 (illustrated in colour, p.97 and illustrated p.94 ref 33/31)