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Louay Kayyali (Syrian, 1934-1978)

The Flute Seller

Louay Kayyali (Syrian, 1934-1978)
The Flute Seller
signed and dated in Arabic (lower left)
oil on masonite
37 x 29¼in. (94 x 74cm.)
Painted in 1973
Special notice

Lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importation value (low estimate) levied at the time of collection shipment within UAE. For UAE buyers, please note that duty is paid at origin (Dubai) and not in the importing country. As such, duty paid in Dubai is treated as final duty payment. It is the buyer's responsibility to ascertain and pay all taxes due.

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Lot Essay

With a poetic subtlety Kayyali captures the wonderfully poignant expression in the eyes of this flute seller, emphasized by his use of blue throughout the composition.
Melancholy and resignation best characterize much of Kayyali's work after the 1967 war and the sentiments of political failure in the Arab World in general. Active during a time of immense upheaval, Kayyali was one of the region's most prominent socio-political artists, his paintings externalising the pressing humanitarian and political issues that surrounded him. His powerful depictions of ordinary people are characterized by strong fluid lines that define the figures and the absence of extraneous detail. Although reminiscent of Russian social realist painting, through his humane treatment of his subjects he conferred them with more individuality and pathos. A recurrent theme in his work was the desolation and misery of social outsiders, his trauma finding expression in a series of deeply sentimental paintings. These include beggars, street vendors, and marginalized people of society, all in despair. His depictions of these characters embodied the sentiments of the artists and intellectuals of Syria at the time.

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