Kahlil Gibran (Lebanon, 1883-1931) Portrait of Amin Rihani

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Lot 9*
Kahlil Gibran
(Lebanon, 1883-1931)
Portrait of Amin Rihani

Sold for £ 92,500 (US$ 115,346) inc. premium
Kahlil Gibran (Lebanon, 1883-1931)
Portrait of Amin Rihani
oil on panel, framed
labelled "Louis Katz Art Galleries, 309 Columbus Ave No 6364" (on verso of frame), executed circa 1908-1912
43 x 33cm (16 15/16 x 13in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Property from a private collection, Canada
    Property from a private collection, Boston
    Louis Katz Art Galleries, New York, by 1912


    "To copy Nature? A boy with a camera can do that. To get the spirit of Nature? A woodman or a shepherd can follow the trail of the whistling wind to hoarded sunshine in distant worlds. But to interpret Nature and inform it with a human personality that rises above it, invokes the divine in it.... this is the work of genius." Amin Rihani

    The present portrait of Amin Rihani is a striking, intimate, almost amorous representation of the renowned poet and author painted during a period when him and Kahlil Gibran were living together in New York.

    Born in Freike (in modern-day Lebanon) on November 24, 1876, Rihani was one of six children and the oldest son of a Lebanese Maronite raw silk manufacturer, Fares Rihani. In 1888, his father sent his brother and Amin to New York City.

    Rihani is the founding father of Arab-American literature. His early English writings mark the beginning of a school of literature that is Arab in its concern, culture and characteristic, English in language, and American in spirit and platform. He is the first Arab to write English essays, poetry, novels, short stories, art critiques, and travel chronicles. He published his works in the U. S. during the first four decades of the twentieth century. In this sense, he is the forerunner of American literature written by well known Middle Eastern writers.

    In 1905 he again returned to Lebanon, this time for a stretch of five years, living at his family home in the Lebanon Mountains. There he completed Al-Rīḥāniyyāt (1910; The Rihani Essays), an Arabic-language essay collection that was well received in the Arab intellectual community, and The Book of Khalid (1911), an English-language novel, considered to be the first by an Arab. The Book of Khalid concerns the immigration of two Lebanese boys to New York City and their subsequent spiritual evolution. It was Gibran himself who illustrated Rihani's Book of Khalid.
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