Etel Adnan Pioneer of Arab-American Culture Dies in Paris

Published November 15th, 2021 - 10:15 GMT
"She was in her 80s when her art started to draw international attention," The New York Times reported.
Photo by Ricardo Karam

"She was in her 80s when her art started to draw international attention," The New York Times reported.

"Etel Adnan"

Born in 1925 in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Greek mother and Syrian father, Etel Adnan started painting in the early 1960s. After studying philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, she moved to America in 1955 to pursue her education at University of California, Berkeley and Harvard.

Three years later, she settled in California to teach philosophy of art and aesthetics at the Dominican University of California.

She wrote essays, articles, novels, poetry and plays in various languages, including French, Arabic, and English. 

Her most widely acclaimed novel, “Sitt Marie Rose,” (1978) based on a true story, centers on a kidnapping during Lebanon’s civil war and is told from the perspective of the civilians enduring brutal political conflict. It has become a classic of war literature, translated into 10 languages and taught in American classrooms.

While in Paris she began to make art. Fast forward in 2012 a presentation at Documenta 13 brought Adnan particular acclaim.

She has exhibited in Paris, London, New York, Zurich, Marrakesh, and Los Angeles, among other cities, and her work belongs in the collections of the British Museum, M+, the Centre Pompidou, the Sharjah Art Museum, the Tate, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Adnan has also produced drawings, tapestries, films, and ceramics.

An exhibition of her works, called Etel Adnan: Light’s New Measure, is on show at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York until January 10, 2022.


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