30 Aug, 2010

Gauguin in Egypt – did you know?

Posted by: admin In: Tate

I was very sad to hear about the recent theft of a Van Gogh painting from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Egypt. When we think of the art treasures associated with Cairo, it would be those of Ancient Egypt, or Islamic art, or even European Orientalist paintings, right?

It is amazing to think of a Van Gogh on display in Giza, within hailing distance of the Pyramids! Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil (1873-1953), who was a wealthy and prominent figure in Cairo society, was passionate about French culture. He had trained as a lawyer at the Sorbonne, had a French wife, and even died in Paris. His collection includes a role call of French artists, Delacroix, Degas, Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir and Rodin.

I was talking to someone who had visited the Museum and apparently there’s a view of the Thames by Monet hanging between windows overlooking the Nile – how gorgeous is that?

There’s also a fabulous painting by Gauguin, La Vie et la Mort (1889), representing two bathers by the seashore – one of those strange, mysterious compositions we love him for, the kind that at first glance seems perfectly straightforward but ends up being a profound meditation on the human condition. Have any of you been to the Mahmoud Khalil Museum? I’d love to hear from you, if you have.

 Gauguin: Maker of Myth opens at Tate Modern on 30 September. Book tickets online or become a Tate Member or Tate Patron and visit for free.

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

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