Marguerite Nakhla (Egyptian, 1908-1977)
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Marguerite Nakhla (Egyptian, 1908-1977)


Marguerite Nakhla (Egyptian, 1908-1977)
signed and inscribed 'm nakhla cairo' (lower right)
oil on canvas
19 7/8 x 27½in. (50 x 70cm.)
Painted circa 1940s
Private Collection, Alexandria.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in the late 1990s.
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Lot Essay

Nakhla's fusion of Expressionistic and Impressionistic styles in 14 Juillet has been replaced with an entirely different approach in this later composition, depicting a view of one of Cairo's crowded public parks. Using a more naïve style, simplifying the composition with a two-dimensional perspective and radically changing her palette, Nakhla has omitted facial features for most of her characters. This time, she focuses on the human relationships between her figures, as she watches the scene from a bird's eye view. Whereas her Paris scene was predominantly monochromatic, heightened by a few vibrant touches, the Cairo painting is a colourful mosaic of bright colours, as Nakhla designated a colour and pattern for each person, scattering them across a flat area of luxurious green grass. In contrast with the loud music, whirling dances and festive mood of 14 Juillet, Nakhla seems to have suspended time in her Cairo composition, immobilising her figures and immersing them in an eternal silence.

Nakhla had studied art in France for five years from 1934 to 1939, yet she returned to Paris in 1951 to study mural painting at the prestigious school of the Louvre. She participated in many group shows in both Cairo and Alexandria and exhibited alongside Mahmoud Saïd and other pioneers of Modern Egyptian art at the 1937 International Exhibition in Paris and at the Egypt-France exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1949.

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