Abdel Hadi Al Gazzar

Abdel Hadi Al Gazzar born in Alexandria, Egypt on 14th March 1925 was an Egyptian painter and one of the pioneering artists from the post-war era. He occupies a unique position among the artists of his generation and is considered an icon of Contemporary African Art. Abdel Hadi Al Gazzar died in 1966 aged 40 years and since his death, his work has not ceased to challenge artists, intellectuals and critics both in Egypt and abroad.

Abdel Hadi Al Gazzar began his studies at the Faculty of Medicine in Cairo but quickly discovered that his passion lay in the arts. He soon abandoned his studies and joins the School of Fine Arts in 1945. Beginning his artistic career with paintings and drawings of large primordial figures set in barren dreamlike landscapes with surrealist aesthetics. El Gazzar quickly turned to a popular style influenced by folkloric practices, religious traditions, and mysticism of the urban religious lower classes, depicting magical scenes portraying Egyptian rituals and folkloric stories. Later on, after joining the Central Restoration Institute in Rome in 1958, he gradually abandoned the depiction of typically Egyptian and surreal folkloric scenes and turned to images of fantastical industrialization and complex machines, alluding to the nation-state and to Nasser’s socialist projects.

El Gazzar enjoyed a prolific artistic career, exhibiting his work in Egypt and abroad. He participated in the Venice Biennale in 1952, 1956, and 1960 and in the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1957, for which he won a Bronze Medal Award. He died on 8th March 1966 at the young age of 40, cutting short a rich and promising career.

A selection of Solo and Group exhibitions by Abdel Hadi Al Gazzar :

1946, Contemporary Art Group Exhibition, Paris, France.
1946, Contemporary Art Group Exhibition, Bab Al Louk Licee’. Cairo, Egypt.
1951, Modern Art Museum of Cairo, Egypt.
1953, Fine Arts Museum, Alexandria, Egypt.
1957, São Paulo Biennial, Brazil.
1957, Spring Exhibition, Cairo, Egypt.
1958, “Art in Fifty Years” International Exhibition, Brooklyn, USA.
1960, Venice Biennial, Italy.
1961, Alvolka Gallery, Rome, Italy.
1962, “The Revolution, Ten Years After” Art Competition, Cairo, Egypt.
1962, Fine Fans Society Exhibition, Cairo, Egypt.
1964, Cairo Saloon Exhibition, Egypt.
1965, Alexandria Biennial, Egypt.
1972, Contemporary Egyptian Art, Moscow, Russia.
1985, Mashrabiya Gallery, Cairo, Egypt.
1991, Portrait Art Exhibition, Cairo Opera Hall, Egypt.
1995, 70th Anniversary of Gazzar’s Birthday, Modern Art Museum of Cairo, Egypt.
2001, Safar Khan Gallery, Cairo, Egypt.
2003, Picasso Gallery, Cairo, Egypt.
2004, Creativity Gallery, Cairo, Egypt.

1942: 1st Prize for Painting, Helmiyya Secondary School, Cairo, Egypt.
1945: 1st Prize for Photography, in the National Contest for Art Products Exhibition, Denshway, Egypt.
1957: Bronze Medal Award, São Paulo Biennial, Br
1958: 1st Prize for Mural Painting Design, Cairo Court Complex, Egypt.
.1958: Silver Medal Award from the Italian city of Bari, Italy.

1958: Henry Moore Statue Prize, the International Exhibition “Fifty years of Arts”,Brussels, Belgium.
1958: Silver Medal Award from the Italian city of Palermo, Italy.
1962: 1st Prize for his painting “The Charter”, in the competition ” The Revolution , Ten Years After “, Cairo, Egypt.
1963: 1st Prize, the 40th Cairo Salon, Egypt.
1964: Golden Medal Award, the 41st Cairo Salon, Egypt.
1964: Medal of Arts & Science and State Incentive Award for his painting “The High Dam”. Egypt.
1964/1965: State Incentive Award in Photography, Cairo, Egypt.
1965: Full-time Grant Art, Ministry of Culture and National Guidance, Cairo, Egypt.
1966: 2nd Prize for Photography, Alexandria Biennial, Egypt.
1998: Medal Award by the Second Scientific Conference, Fine Arts Faculty, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt.
2006: The Golden Feather by the 4th Honorary Exhibition for Artists, Cairo, Egypt.

State Collections

Museum of the Modern Egyptian Art. Cairo, Egypt.
Museum of Faculty of Fine Arts. Cairo, Egypt.
Museum of Faculty of Fine Arts. Alexandria, Egypt.
Port Said Museum. Egypt.
Banha Museum. Egypt.
The Arab Museum of Paris, France.
Museum of New Delhi, India.
Private Collections
Art Lovers Association. Cairo, Egypt.

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