Fahrelnissa Zeid (Turkish, 1901-91) Two self-portraits
watercolour, gouache and ink on paper each 35 x 26 cm.(2)
Provenance: UK private collection; acquired directly from the artist in the mid 1970s.
Commenting on her self-portraits, Fahrelnissa Zeid wrote: "I am a descendant of four civilizations. In my self-portrait, the hand is Persian, the dress is Byzantine, the face is Cretan and the eyes Oriental, but I was not aware of this as I was painting it. It was explained to me later by highly educated people" (quoted in André Parinaud, Fahr el Nissa Zeid, Amman, 1994, p. 37).
She goes on to write: "I found a skating rink, where children and adults were greatly enjoying themselves. I leaned on the rink railing with my elbows and watched the evolution of this charming world [........ when I painted the scene] I painted myself in black, and from that day on, I appeared in all my paintings as a sombre, tragic and lonesome being" (ibid, p. 41).