Mahjoub Ben Bella (Algerian, b. 1946)
Foule Noire
signed and dated 'Ben Bella 86-89'(lower right); titled, signed and located 'Foule Noir' Mahdjoub Ben Bella, Zourcoing'
acrylic on canvas
63¾ x 51in. (162 x 130cm.)
Painted in 1986-1989
Tourcoing, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Mahjoub Ben Bella, 18 January - 2 April 1997.
Roubaix, Musee d'Art et d'Industrie, Mahjoub Ben Bella 18 January - 2 April 1997.
Sevres, Musee de la Cramique, Summer 1998, p. 49 (illustated in colour).

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William Lawrie
William Lawrie

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Lot Essay

Ben Bella's compositions are characterized by repeated application of sign-like marks which recall script. Colours are concentrated into forms, filled with talismanic script. The symbols are based on Arabic calligraphy, blended with the colours of Western Abstract Expressionism. Ben Bella's signs and symbols have discarded their literal meaning altogether, retaining only pictorial forms.

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