Khalil  Saleeby (Lebanon, 1870-1928) Portrait of Carrie Aude (The artists wife)

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Lot 1*
Khalil Saleeby
(Lebanon, 1870-1928)
Portrait of Carrie Aude (The artists wife)

Sold for £ 18,750 (US$ 23,381) inc. premium
Khalil Saleeby (Lebanon, 1870-1928)
Portrait of Carrie Aude (The artists wife)
oil on canvas, framed
signed and dated 1916
47 x 40cm (18 1/2 x 15 3/4in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Property from a private collection, Los Angeles
    Presented as a gift from the artist to George Mishalany, circa 1920's
    thence by descent to the present owner

    Khalil Saleeby is one of the Lebanon's most pioneering and important artists, and as teacher to luminaries like Douaihy and Gemayel, he is considered one of the major forerunners of Lebanese modernism at the turn of the century.

    He was born to landowning Greek Orthodox peasants in 1870, in the village of Btalloun in the mountains outside of Beirut. As a child, Saleeby started drawing with the heads of matchsticks before progressing to charcoal and ink. He studied at the Syrian Protestant College, which later became the American University of Beirut (AUB).

    Saleeby impressed his teachers enough to be sent off to Scotland for further study where he trained with John Singer Sargent, who encouraged the young painter to continue his education in Philadelphia. There, Saleeby met (and promptly married) Carrie Aude, who soon became his favorite subject and lifelong muse.

    The couple spent ten years on the move in Edinburgh, London and Paris, where Saleeby met Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Gustave Courbet. At the turn of the century, he returned to Beirut and began teaching at his Alma Mater, at this point he had quickly gained a reputation as one of the leading portrait painters of his time.

    To enjoy the fruits of his success, Saleeby acquired a house in his ancestral village of Btalloonn. However, tragically, after a dispute over water resources in the summer of 1928, a group of village thugs murdered the artist and his wife as they were returning home from a swim. Saleeby's artistic legacy was heartbreakinlgy cut short.

    Uniquely, Saleeby's portraits are not cold, detached representations of his various sitters; emotive and deeply felt, there exists a palpable sympathy and familiarity with his subjects, nowhere is this felt more potently than in depictions of his beloved wife

    In 2012, The American University of Beirut, Lebanon's leading liberal arts university, inaugurated its new gallery space, the AUB Art Gallery, with the first major public exhibition of the works of Saleeby.

    The exhibition was drawn from an important private collection of Saleeby's works which were donated to the AUB, which currently holds the largest private collection of works by the artist.
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