• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7674

    International Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 October 2008, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 120

    Tahia Halim (Egyptian, 1919-2003)

    Girls on a Felucca

    Price Realised  


    Tahia Halim (Egyptian, 1919-2003)
    Girls on a Felucca
    oil on canvas
    51¼ x 27½in. (130 x 70cm.)
    Painted circa early 1960s

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    The construction of the Aswan High Dam was the major project of early 1960s Egypt, and unsurprisingly in one way or another provided much inspiration for the artist. Apart from supplying water and energy to much of the country, it had another more prosaic consequence. Behind it and upstream the huge Lake Nasser wa created by the accumulating waters of the Nile, and was to submerge a major part of Nubia, the region which straddled the Egyptian-Sudanese border. Almost an entire culture which had existed there since antiquity had to be relocated. Conscious of this, a few artists made the journey to Nubia rather than to the dam to record that which was about to vanish. Tahia Halim visited in 1962, and from then on the people of Nubia and their daily life became the focus of her paintings . Halim was originally from an aristocratic family from Upper Egypt and this was for her a way of reconnecting with her Nubian roots. Her style from this time assumed the aspects of Coptic art, with scarce attention to correct proportion but instead expressive exaggeration of form and colour, lending it a kind of authenticity in keeping with the subjects.