Image: Ragheb Ayad, A Cafe in Aswan (1933).
This Saturday we travel to Eqypt for our weekly art post. Coming across a review of a recent book on Egyptian coffee house culture, put us on a search for something to post that captured some of that culture. The pleasant serendipity of these art posts is finding new artists and some amazing stories.
Ragheb Ayad was born just before the turn of the 20th century. As a young painter he studied in Egypt, but after the 1919 revolution, the Egyptian Parliament created scholarships to study abroad. Ayad was chosen to study in Rome, where he met his future wife Emma Caly, also a painter. They returned to Egypt where he held a number of administrative posts in the art world including director of Cairo’s museum of modern art starting in 1950. He also was an influential painter, credited with being a pioneer of a distinctly Egyptian style he often painted subjects of folk culture. He lived to see the end of the monarchy and another revolution.
A Cafe in Aswan dates to 1933. There is little (at least in English) about the painting, though it is recognized as one of his masterpieces. It appears to be on display at the Egyptian Museum of Modern Art in Cairo.
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