• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7477

    International Modern and Contemporary Art

    31 October 2007, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 20

    SAMIR RAFI' (EGYPTIAN, 1926-2004)

    Pecheur au poisson rouge

    Price Realised  


    SAMIR RAFI' (EGYPTIAN, 1926-2004)
    Pecheur au poisson rouge
    signed and dated 'Samir Rafi, janr 1958' (lower left); inscribed 'S.Rafi, Pecheur au poisson rouge, Janr. 1958, 54 x 81cm (25in)'
    oil and pen on canvas board
    23 x 33¼ in. (59 x 84½cm.)
    Painted in 1958

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    In his style Samir Rafi' defined form by a strong outer dark heavy line, and rather than finding solutions to mix the colours, he used unmixed colours, direct from the tube. There is little sense of perspective in his works, the flat shapes resembling collages, and reminiscent of the child-like designs on the walls of the poor streets of Cairo, and the murals on the facades of the Nubian Houses.

    Rafi's work is suffused with symbols, such as fish, the devil's eye, totems, talismans, the hand of Fatima, empty plates and pots, light bulbs placed around human figures, hungry families and skeletal nudes, often surrounded by nature, which sometimes looks lifeless, sometimes lively. Often they are shown with bored-looking animals, lying around, and representing the monotonous life of the Egyptian poor.

    Through his paintings he ennobled the everyday man and woman and left behind him a new way of looking and new mode of expression for the Egyptian contemporary art scene.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Cairo, Palace of Arts, Gezira, Samir Rafi: Masterpieces on Show for the First Time in 50 Years, 2005 (illustrated, p.21)