Georges Hanna Sabbagh was born in 1887 into a wealthy Catholic family of Syro-Lebanese origin established in Alexandria. He was educated at the Collège des Pères Jésuites in Cairo before his father, Hanna Sabbagh Bey, one of the stakeholders of the Heliopolis urban development project, sent him to Paris in 1906 to study law. During that period, Sabbagh showed little interest in his studies and instead started to take painting lessons at the Académie Ranson in 1910. There, he was trained by the painters Paul Sérusier (1864–1927), Félix Vallotton (1865–1925), and Maurice Denis (1870–1943). From that time on, he dedicated himself entirely to art.
During World War I, Sabbagh enrolled in the British army. On his return to France in 1916, he married the art historian and political activist Agnès Humbert (1894–1963), with whom he had two sons, Pierre and Jean. The same year, he spent several months in artist Maurice Denis’s Villa Silencio, located in the small village of Perros-Guirec in Brittany—the sole region of Les Nabis and the painters of the École de Pont-Aven. In 1917, Sabbagh held his first individual exhibition at the Galerie Chéron in Paris. He became a renowned painter in Paris and was in touch with many of the artists working during the interwar period in the French capital, such as Amedeo Modigliani, Jules-Émile Zingg, Yves Alix, and Henry de Waroquier.
When his mother died in 1920, he returned to Egypt. While there, he produced several paintings addressing the themes of motherhood and family. He returned to France in 1922 and traveled regularly to Crozant to visit his friend, the painter Armand Guillaumin (1841–1927). In 1928, he built a house close to Denis’s villa, in Ploumanac’h, Brittany, that inspired several of his paintings. Sabbagh became a French citizen in 1930. In 1951, he traveled to Switzerland where he held his last exhibitions in Geneva and Lausanne. He died in Paris on 9 December 1951.
Although Sabbagh was very attached to his Egyptian origins, he considered himself a painter of the École de Paris. He was a prolific artist who produced over a thousand oil paintings as well as many engravings. His early paintings are marked by the lessons of Les Nabis, particularly by his teacher and friend, Denis, who initiated him into the emotional power of color and symbolism. Sabbagh, along with some of his Paris-based contemporaries, such as his friends Alix and Zingg, belonged to what the critic Jean Cassou called “the sacrificed generation.” These artists assimilated the experiences of Les Nabis, the Cubists, and the Fauves, while searching for a new form of Realism. In 1918, he paid tribute to his forefathers by representing Cézanne and Van Gogh in his painting titled Les joueurs de cartes.
During his lifetime, Sabbagh held twenty-eight individual exhibitions and participated in more than 130 collective exhibits. Many retrospective exhibitions have been organized in his honor, and in 1981, Pierre and Jean Sabbagh dedicated a monograph to their father that shed light on his life, work, and career. His works can be seen in collections around the world, including at the Museum of Egyptian Modern Art, the Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum (Cairo), and the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha, Qatar). In 2013, several of Sabbagh’s works were presented in the exhibition Tea with Nefertiti: The Making of the Artwork, the Museum and the Public held at Mathaf and at Institut du monde Arabe (Paris) under the title Le Théorème de Nefertiti.
The following conditions of sale describe the relationship between the Institute for Palestine Studies-USA and the buyers, prospective buyers, and bidders for the Keyword: Palestine II Art Exhibition and Auction which will begin on March 2nd, 2020, and end on December 31st, 2020. By using this website to buy, bid, or inquire about any artwork, you agree to be bound by these conditions.
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