Christies is proud to offer two striking compositions by Ismail Fattah from the distinguished collection of Maath Alousi. A recurrent theme in the paintings of the artist was his fascination with human faces or masks. Often his faces were shown lacking certain features, without a mouth, or without eyes, but always portrayed with a certain strength that mirrored his own soul. Between abstraction and representation, his paintings revealed bold and angular lines that were reminiscent of his acclaimed experimentation with sculpture, yet evoked a strong sense of spirituality and a delicate serenity.
Undeniably one of the leading figures in the history of Arab art, Ismail Fattah contributed to the change that took place in the Baghdad art scene and is recognised not only for his seemingly naive depictions of faces and men, but most importantly for his outstanding and monumental sculptures, the most iconic of which is the Nusb Al-Shahid (Monument of the Martyr), a public artwork commissioned in the early 1980s to commemorate fallen soldiers of the Iran-Iraq war. His later acclaimed sculptures, often exhibited in outdoor spaces, evoke the theme of a couple, revealing his fascination with the subject as is evident in the present work.
Ismail Fattah held solo and group exhibitions, displaying both his sculptures and paintings, in Baghdad, but also Rome, London, Paris and Beirut. His works are currently held in private and public collections including Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, amongst others.