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Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Zagazig, Dec 20, 1906; d Cairo, Feb 21, 1963).

Egyptian historian, sociologist, playwright, literary critic, linguist and art historian. He attended secondary school at the Jesuit Collège de la Sainte-Famille, Cairo, and then pursued his higher education under Ahmad Zaki Pasha in Cairo and at the Sorbonne in Paris under the Orientalists Louis Massignon and Maurice Gaudefroy-Demombynes. In 1932 he completed two doctoral theses on pre-Islamic Arabia, one on the concept of honour, the other on the nature of linguistic exposition. He travelled widely in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon and Turkey, and in the 1940s began to dedicate more time to writing plays, short stories and literary criticism. He was also editor of the literary journal Al-Muqtaṭaf and researched Egyptian folklore. From 1948 he was consultant to the Egyptian delegation to UNESCO and from 1958 secretary-general of the French Institut d’Egypte. From 1942 he wrote about Islamic art, especially illustrated manuscripts of the 12th to the 14th century from Iraq and Syria, from the point of view of aesthetics and Christian and Muslim iconography. He also wrote about the lawfulness of painting in Islam. He discovered several important Arabic manuscripts with illustrations, and his interpretation of Arab painting was enriched by his extensive knowledge of history and literature. He published academic works and drama in French and Arabic and was one of the first Arab historians to write about Islamic art. He also supported modern art movements, publishing an open letter to the Soviet president Khrushchev in ...

Article

Lynne Cooke

(b Kheredine, nr Carthage, Tunisia, May 1, 1934).

British sculptor. A leading figure among the group of young British sculptors known as the New Generation who came to critical prominence in the mid-1960s, he read modern languages at Cambridge (1955–7) before turning seriously to sculpture. After a postgraduate year at St Martin’s School of Art in London from 1957 to 1958 and a year as assistant to Henry Moore, King began teaching at St Martin’s with Anthony Caro and Eduardo Paolozzi, both of whom influenced the semi-figurative Brutalist sculpture, which he was then making in clay and plaster. During a trip to Greece in 1960 he discovered, from the example of Greek architecture, that there could be an art that was, as he saw it, ‘of’ nature without resembling nature. The next year, on a visit to Documenta 2 in Kassel, he was struck by the contrast between the mannered clichés of contemporary European sculpture, with its eviscerated tortured forms, and the large-scale ambition and optimism of American Abstract Expressionist painting. The recent shift in Caro’s thinking about sculpture, far more than his actual work, further reinforced the radical change that then took place in King’s aesthetic. Works such as ...

Article

Egyptian, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA from 1926 and naturalised from 1928.

Born 1913, in Alexandria, to Russian parents; died 2003, in East Hampton (New York).

Sculptor, painter.

American Abstract Artists (AAA). New York School.

Ibram Lassaw started his study of sculpture at the age of 13 at Brooklyn's Children Museum, under the guidance of Dorothea Denslow, before moving on to the Clay Club ...

Article

Egyptian, 20th century, female.

Active in France since 1985.

Born in Egypt.

Painter. Designs for tapestries.

Mona Zaalouk was a student of Fouad Kamel, one of the precursors of Surrealism and Abstract art in Egypt, and a friend of Breton. She began by making tapestries from the thick woollen thread used by nomads to weave their clothes. She then devoted herself to painting, using sand, rocks and minerals for her colours....