Abdel Hady El-Gazzar


Abdel Hadi El-Gazzar was born in Alexandria in 1925 and moved to Cairo with his family in 1936 when his father was appointed a professor of Islamic law at Al-Azhar University.

As a student at El Hilmiya Secondary School, he displayed an early talent to draw instinctively guided by emotions as much as logic.He studied Medicine at Cairo University as a young man but changed course in 1945 when his tutor Hussein Youssef Amin noticed his talents and urged him to enter the Faculty of Fine Arts. Though he swiftly abandoned his medical studies, he remained interested in the sciences for the remainder of his life, taking chemistry and physics lessons along with his artistic instruction.

A decade later, he moved to Florence to study Italian, then he went to Rome on a scholarship to complete his studies at the Istituto Centrale del Restauro (Central Restoration Institute) in 1961.

El-Gazzar became the institute’s first Egyptian artist graduate, during his stay in Italy, El-Gazzar travelled around Europe, expanding his knowledge of Western art and culture through trips to museums and landmarks.

El-Gazzar concentrated on giving his images an intellectual and psychological component, attempting to approach the unknown or ambiguous through visual and material means. In works like The Popular Chorus (1948), an oil painting that has since become one of his best-known works, the artist reflected the squalor of his surroundings.

He painted a line of Egyptians standing barefoot in front of empty bowls,their old garments and tired expressions indicating hunger and sorrow. The artwork was interpreted as a critique of the country’s endemic poverty under King Farouk I, and thus of the king’s rule; as a result of this perceived disrespect to the monarchy, El-Gazzar was imprisoned for a night when he showed the picture in 1949.

Unfortunately, the artist died of a heart attack in Cairo in 1966, not long after returning from his studies. Despite his tragically short life, Abdel Hadi El-Gazzar left behind a vast oeuvre.


Artwork Title

Oil Pastel on Paper


22.5 x 27.5 CM

8.9 x 10.8 Inch


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