Etel Adnan

Poet, short story writer, essayist, and artist Etel Adnan was born in Beirut in 1925 to a Syrian Muslim father and a Greek Christian mother. Adnan grew up among the landscapes of Lebanon and Syria before moving to France for a time, and then to America. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and, in the mid-1950s, went to the United States to study philosophy at U.C. Berkeley and Harvard.

The works of Adnan are part of many private collections and museums around the world such as: the Royal Jordanian Museum, Tunis Museum of Modern Art, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden, Sursock Museum in Beirut, Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the British Museum in London, the World Bank Collection and the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington DC.

Deeply in love with nature and its original symbiosis with our existence, Adnan paints landscapes without human figures. Seeking to represent only the physical beauty of the universe and the intense bond she has with it, the artist executes her paintings with clear, confident strokes. The colors, bold and at the same time nuanced, give a sense of permanence to the canvas. The stroke, the mark, the writing that return as a leitmotif in his work are consequently also at the center of the exhibition. From New York to Beirut, from Sausalito to Paris, her works draw inspiration from the cities, the landscapes that Adnan encounters and traverses. A foreigner everywhere without ever being an exile, the artist, who has lived intensely through the 20th century in a relentless present, recounts in her writings how places and languages have made her poetic and pictorial work blossom.

She passed away on 14 November 2021.