April 2021 will see the Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art auction take place in Paris, and this year there will be pieces by infamous Egyptian artists, Mohammed and Effat Naghi. The siblings’ revered art works will be auctioned, eleven in total: two will be presented during a live sale on April 14th 2021, and nine will be included in the 20th century art online sale from April 7th -19th 2021.
Mohammed Naghi was an Egyptian diplomat and a recognized artist. It was his travels and studies in Europe that led him to the epicenter of the artistic and cultural revolutions of the early 20th century, after which he founded the “Atelier d’Alexandrie” in Alexandria in 1935. Naghi also became Egypt’s delegate to the UNESCO Fine Arts Commission in London and Paris in 1946, after which he took up residence in Italy from 1947 to 1950 where he took on the position as director of the Egyptian Academy of Arts in Rome. His work was presented twice at the Venice Biennale, in 1948 and in 1954.
Significantly younger than her brother Mohammed, Effat became one of the leading female figures of Egypt’s modern art scene in the 1950s-1970s. She merged a wide variety of materials and mediums such as antique painted wood, and haunted amulets, on which she produced highly textured and vivid pieces.
Effat was inspired by archaeology and astrology – both of which can be seen in some of her works. In comparison to her brother whose work combined Egypt’s cultural heritage with western aesthetics, Effat also painted bright Egyptian rural landscapes. One of Effat Naghi’s pieces set a world auction record at a Christie’s auction in 2014, where one of her portraits that she created in the 1960’s, was sold for over $62,000 USD. Mohammed Naghi’s work, “The Temple of Karnak,” that was painted in the 1930s, also sold for around the same amount in 2015 at Christie’s Dubai Middle Eastern Art auction.
In a statement from the associate director of Impressionist and Modern Art department, Valerie Didier spoke of the acquired pieces of art by the Egyptian artists, “This is a major first for Christie’s Paris Impressionist and Modern Art Auction, presenting this important group of works by brother and sister Mohamed and Effat Naghi.” She continued, “The auction will bring these pioneering Egyptian modern artists to the attention of our international collectors around the globe… These works are also highlighting the artistic and theoretical links between the Naghis and their friend, French artist André Lhote, who in the 1950s extensively worked closely with Effat in Egypt.”