Akram Shukri (Iraq, 1910-1986) Untitled,
Lot 21
Akram Shukri
(Iraq, 1910-1986)
Untitled,
Sold for US$ 48,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
Akram Shukri (Iraq, 1910-1986)
Untitled, oil on board, initialled and dated '958 lower right, framed,45 x 58.5cm (17 11/16 x 23 1/16in).

Footnotes

  • Akram Shukri is considered one of the most important artists in the development of the Iraqi modern art movement, and although primarily an architect he was the founding member of the Society of Artists and Art Lovers in 1941. This group included important Iraqi artists such as Jawad Selim, Hafiz Droubi and Faik Hassan. Numerous members of this society went on to found other important artist groups; Faik Hassan was the leader of La Societe Primitive which later became known as The Pioneers, and Hafiz Droubi formed a group known as The Baghdad Group of Modern Art. (Wijdan Ali (ed.) Contemporary Art from the Islamic World, 1989, London, p.158-161)

    Many of the artists from the early groups were educated in Europe at establishments such as the Academie National des Beaux Arts in Paris and the Rome Academy. When they returned to Iraq they brought back techniques and styles which although common place in Europe were revolutionary in Iraq. The groups of the 40s and 50s were breeding grounds for new nationalistic artistic forms and their importance in the history of modern Iraqi art cannot be disputed. Their members paved the way for the artists of the 60s and 70s and their techniques, whilst rooted in the European style display a visual national identity hitherto unseen in Iraqi art.

    Shukri's works rarely appear at auction and this example is notable for its intense colours and attractive composition. It depicts a 'Choubi' or 'Dabka', a traditional Iraqi folk dance usually performed by men at celebratory occasions such as weddings. The semi-abstract depiction of native Iraqi folk sits in juxtaposition with the frantic 'Pollock-esque' background which presents the viewer with a multi-layered and complex work rich in Iraqi heritage.
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