Mohamed Sabry, born in Cairo, Egypt in 1917. He was one the most respected and beloved leading lights of the celebrated 20t Century Egyptian Modern Art movement, and his illustrious career spanned over 75 years.
His artistic life often overlapped with some of the most significant historical and political movements in Middle Eastern history. His commissions included being selected to produce two major political artworks: one, a commemoration of the seminal “peace speech” delivered by former leader Gama Abdel Nasser in the United Nations in 1956; and the other, a depiction of the signing of the famed Cairo Agreement in 1970, featuring Abdel Nasser and the group of Arab leaders who journeyed with him to participate in this historic moment.
Although Sabry worked in both oil and pastels, his most beloved and lauded works were in pastel – as this was the medium that allowed him to create his best work in the school in which he excelled, Impressionistic Realism.
Sabry’s appreciation, both in the region and around the world was for his unique ability to evoke both the atmosphere of – and nostalgia for – peaceful landscapes of beloved landscapes in the Middle East, Morocco, and Spain.
He had an indefinably assured style – and his choice of subject matter, compositional acumen, and unsurpassed tonal ability – allowed him to paint the folk districts and landscapes of Old Cairo, Aswan and rural regions and bustling markets.
In Sabry’s assured hands, compositions, choices of subject, and most importantly, a delicate, soft color palette, allowed him to capture the unique and singular light of the region. From boats peacefully sailing down the Upper Nile, to the coast of Andalusia, to XXX, Sabry’s toolbox of tawny beiges and muted yellows – juxtaposed with rose-gold pinks and robin’s egg blues, allowed him to capture and reflect the singular light and atmosphere that suffuses the Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern regions.
The winner of a plethora of medals, awards and recognitions by governments, arts societies, and universities Sabry was granted the Merit Medal of Knight rank by the Spanish Government in 1961, the Arts and Sciences Medal of first rank, “Pastel Pioneer” in 1974 and was granted The Queen Isabel Medal, by king of Spain as recognition of his art in 1988.
He received an honor certificate from the Nation’s Assembly for his painting “The High Dam” that had been gifted to the Supreme Soviet Council under title of Egypt, 1970, and was granted recognition by the president for his painting ‘The Great Crossing”, In 1983, his painting ‘Queen of Spain”, that had been admired by president Anwar al-Saddat, was presented under title of Egypt to the King and Queen of Spain during their visit to Egypt.
He was also commemorated by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and granted The Pioneer Fine Arts Sash and Certificate of Merit in 1995. His additional international recognition included, winning the Top prize for painting from the Autumn Salon in Madrid (1964); The Medal and Diploma of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Spain and a nomination for ‘the international man of 1993’ by The International Biography Institution in Cambridge.
His work graces the interiors of many Egyptian embassies abroad & has been included in many private collections in Egypt, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, India, Morocco, USA, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.
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