Rare bronze by ‘father of modern Egyptian sculpture’ to debut at auction

An outstanding sculpture by the renowned Egyptian artist Mahmoud Mokhtar is up for sale at Sotheby’s 20th Century Art/Middle East auction in London on April 30. (Image supplied)
Updated 09 March 2019
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Rare bronze by ‘father of modern Egyptian sculpture’ to debut at auction

LONDON: An outstanding sculpture by the renowned Egyptian artist Mahmoud Mokhtar is up for sale at Sotheby’s 20th Century Art/Middle East auction in London on April 30.

“The Three Beggars” — one of only two known examples of the work (the other being in the collection of the Mokhtar Museum, Cairo) — is up for sale for the first time. It is a prime example of the artist’s use of his classical training to sculpt figures from Egyptian culture and Islamic history.

Ashkan Baghestani, Sotheby's Head of Sale for Arab and Iranian, Modern & Contemporary Art, described the bronze to Arab News.

“This sculpture by Mokhtar is a true rarity, and it is such a thrill to see something quite so distinctive by one of the most pioneering and beloved sculptors of the Middle East,” he said. “Often the artist’s works are very polished, with sleek organic lines, but here we see a very different way of sculpting — the rough and immediate texture lending the piece an undeniable gravitas. It is important to note that not very many pieces by the artist are offered at auction and this one is completely fresh to the market, made all the more desirable by the fact that it is coming directly from the descendants of Mokhtar’s own teacher, Jules-Félix Coutan.”

The artist, widely regarded as “the father of modern Egyptian sculpture,” gifted the work to Coutan, whose sculptures adorn the facade of the Grand Central Terminal in New York, in the 1930s.

The composition of three bronze men echoes Rodin’s “Three Shades,” a work with which Mokhtar would have been familiar.  Instead of simply copying the French master’s work, however, he reworks and repurposes the composition to express his own identity through the recognizable Egyptian clothing of the figures.

Many of Mokthar’s works are symbolic. They are not portraits of specific people, but representations of larger ideas. The fact that this work eventually ended up with his teacher, Coutan, frames this work perhaps as an allegory of the transmission of knowledge. The bearded man with the walking stick knows the path and calls out, and the younger men follow his lead. In their vulnerable state, they lean on each other for guidance and support.

The piece is expected to fetch between $105,000 and $158,000 at auction.


Nora Attal has her day in the sun in Marrakesh

Updated 19 March 2019
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Nora Attal has her day in the sun in Marrakesh

DUBAI: British-Moroccan model Nora Attal posed up a storm in Marrakesh’s golden sunlight for a new campaign by fashion brand Zara.

The in-demand model shared snaps from the campaign, photographed by Christian Macdonald, on her Instagram account.

The collection of photographs show Attal modelling looks from Zara’s laid-back Spring/Summer 2019 collection against a backdrop of rippling sand dunes. Her featured ensembled include kaftans and long-length cardigans with hefty stripes in a clay-and-beige color palette.

Attal is no stranger to fronting campaigns — in January, the model was chosen as one of seven rising stars to feature in British fashion house Alexander McQueen’s latest campaign.

The Spring/Summer 2019 collection photoshoot was shot by British fashion and documentary photographer Jamie Hawkesworth and featured Attal wearing a number of cowboy-inspired looks.

The year has gotten off to a busy start for Attal, who was similarly in demand in 2018, when she took to the catwalk for Elie Saab, Loewe and Dior during Paris Fashion Week in September and starred in Italian fashion label Versace’s summer advert campaign.

In May, luxury e-retailer Farfetch launched in the Middle East with a little help from the young model.

She starred in a photoshoot wearing pieces from collections on sale on the platform. The colorful photographs were accompanied by a snappy, chatty interview with the young model.
Readers got the chance to gain insight into her earliest fashion memories and learn some off-the-cuff facts about the star.

“Recently I’ve been obsessed with noughties trends. Everyone was so cool and effortless back then. Now I go out in a full Juicy Couture tracksuit with no shame,” she told Farfetch at the time.

“If I wasn’t a model, I’d probably be at university, studying to get into something like criminal investigations, profiling or law,” she added.

Attal finished off 2018 by hitting the sand dunes in the UAE — however, this time it wasn’t part of a high-end photoshoot, but rather a day of fun.

The model enjoyed an afternoon of sandboarding in the emirate of Sharjah and even posted a snap on Instagram at the time.

“Apparently sandboarding is a thing,” she captioned the sunset shot.