December 15, 2012


FAHRELNISSA ZEID / 1901 – 1991
My Hell 1951
Oil on canvas
205 x 528 cm.

İstanbul Modern Collection /
Şirin Devrim and Prince Saad Donation

 After graduating from the School of Fine Arts, she went to Paris in 1928 and pursued her studies in art at the Académie Ranson. In 1934 she married Prince Zeid bin Hussein, Iraq’s ambassador to Turkey, and became a princess in the Hashemite dynasty. Known for both her figurative and non-figurative work, she had her first solo exhibition at the Colette Alendy Gallery in Paris. In her early period, Zeid produced landscapes with figures freely placed in compositions whose surfaces are divided into colored sections in a manner reminiscent of Gothic stained glass windows. After 1950, she took part in École de Paris shows. Expressing the world of her emotions through colored abstractions in her paintings, Zeid turned her attentions to portraits and figures. After 1970 she focused on psychological exposition.
My Hell, dated 1951, is one of her most accomplished works in terms of its linearity, its intricately fragmented surface, and its synthesis of stained glass and painting. A wave of color seems to be washing horizontally across the surface, carrying the composition along with the myriad geometrical fragments of which it is comprised.