Born in Alexandria in 1906 into an aristocratic Egyptian family, Seif Wanly was privately tutored in art before he entered the studio of the Italian artist Otorino Becchi, where he was introduced to the European trends of Cubism and Futurism. Employing a distinct style of bright colours, form and composition, his paintings were depictions of geometric and simplified shapes that were reminiscent of the techniques of Divisionism that broke light and colour on the surface of the canvas in the paintings of Italian and French artists, at the turn of the century.
In the early 1940s, Seif and his brother Adham established an art studio in Cairo with the ambition of exposing masses to art and culture and their studio soon became a Salon where musicians, intellectuals, poets, artists and collectors would gather. Whereas the two brothers worked closely together and both infused rhythm and a folkloric vibe to their works, their style can be clearly distinguished. Seif's works, with their impulsive and fast paced brushstrokes revealed his dedication to forms and shapes combined within a balanced composition while Adham's paintings questioned the relationship between line and colour in a contemplative manner.
When in 1959 Adham Wanly tragically passed away, Seif dedicated a great number of his works to the study of theatrical scenes and the daily lives of the participants on stage, perhaps in an attempt to escape the realities of his own existence. As he spent time with actors, musicians and ballerinas, his inspiration grew and he felt the urge to express himself by portraying these characters on the surface of his canvases. The present work is a striking depiction of three female dancers within a scenery composed of a myriad of colours and angular forms. With dramatic effects of luminosity and movement created by the dynamic juxtaposition of colours and bold lines, his work stands between abstraction and figuration and evidently recollects the artistic exploration of Futurist artists, namely Giacomo Balla and Umberto Boccioni.
The theatrical outcome of his aesthetic completion is exceptional. Like a spotlight projection on the delicate silhouettes of the female figures, colourful forms intensify the dynamic harmony of the composition and capture the entertaining performance of the ballerinas. The present work painted in 1965 is undeniably an outstanding and charming composition that subtly expresses a sense of melancholic joy, in a modernist manner.