Mun'im Furat (Iraq, 1900-1972) Babylon 13 cm high (5 1/8 in)
Lot 19A
Mun'im Furat
(Iraq, 1900-1972)
Babylon 13 cm high (5 1/8 in)
Sold for £ 7,500 (US$ 9,602) inc. premium

Lot Details
Mun'im Furat (Iraq, 1900-1972)
Babylon 13 cm high (5 1/8 in)
signed "Munim Furat" in Arabic (on base)13 cm high (5 1/8 in)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Property from a private collection, Paris

    Published:
    Nouri al-Rawi, Mun'im Furat: artiste primitif Irakien, 1983, Baghdad

    Mun'im Furat (1900-1972): An Iraqi Primitive Artist

    Mun'im Furat was a renowned Iraqi sculptor almost unique in his body of work, being one of the only sculptors to focus almost entirely on Babylonian statuary. His real name was Na'im Barbout Wadi, but he chose the alias Mun'im Furat. He was born in 1900 in Baghdad to the Al Jubur tribe.

    He left school at a very early age but managed to learn how to read, write and recite the Quran. He started his sculpting career at the age of 18, he took a rock and chiseled it into a human head and it's said that since then he never stopped sculpting till his unfortunate death in August 1972, when he was killed by a hit and run car accident.

    He was often harassed by the regime and got some of his work confiscated, such was the case of the statue he made of Abdel Muhsin al Sa'doun, prime minister at the time, for which Mun'im was detained but released shortly afterwards. Other works included busts of George V and Faisal I.

    He used to frequent the Iraqi Museum and copy some of the works exhibited and then make them into sculptures. The director of the museum took Mun'im to court for that but the case was dismissed and Mun'im was released without being charged.

    After the July revolution in 1958, he was discovered by Dr Akram Fadhel from the Ministry of Information, who helped him gain permanent employment at the Ministry of Culture. Mun'im took this opportunity and moved his tools to the ministry, where he continued working on his sculptures until he reached the retirement age. He used to sell his sculptures to shops and dealers, who in turn sold his work to foreigners and made lots of money.

    In February 1970, he exhibited in Rome, which was well received and many critics wrote about it in Italian newspapers. Alberto Ciattini, a renowned Italian art critic and author wrote: "An artist like Mun'im Furat is a rare phenomenon that can't be found in every time & place, because he made his work use an ancient language, in fact a language which is older than time itself".

    In 1972 (10 September – 10 October), shortly after his death, ten of his sculptures were exhibited at the International Fair: Triennale of Primitive Art, in Bratislava, where Mun'im received a Special Honorary Award in his memory and a Diploma in recognition of his Art Work.
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