«Unexpected Trove—The Unseen Works of Hussein Madi» presents never-before-exhibited paintings, especially rare landscapes, by celebrated Lebanese artist Hussein Madi (b. 1938). The exceptional ensemble of 47 paintings, produced between 1965 and 1970 during his early years in Rome, was assumed lost for almost forty years, and only recently resurfaced serendipitously. These key paintings in the history of Madi’s career not only frame the artist at a pivotal point in his artistic trajectory, but are also a testament to Italian-Lebanese artistic exchanges during the late nineteen-sixties. 

In 1963, having patiently saved his earnings from selling illustrations to various Lebanese and Iraqi publications, Madi arrived in Rome (in his eyes, the heart of the art world) and enrolled in the Accademia di Belle Arte, initiating what would be a two-decade-long stay in the Italian capital. 

«Unexpected Trove—The Unseen Works of Hussein Madi» will expand on the circumstances that led Madi to paint works so remarkably different from the canvases he would produce later in his career. In parallel to « Unseen Works’s » landscapes, Madi’s Roman  years indeed saw him steer his artistic practice in the direction that characterizes him today,  especially developing his own rules of abstraction, drawing simultaneously from Islamic art, the Arabic alphabet and Western modes of creation, ultimately expressing what he calls «the universal order of things. » 

Madi’s Roman landscapes are now part of the Mazen & Loulia Soueid collection. As Mazen Soueid remarked, “While tracing Madi’s abstract paintings to Rome, this body of work appeared as a beautiful surprise. It represents a visual diary by young Madi, reacting to his new surroundings after leaving his homeland. »


Curator: Abed Al Kadiri

Mazen & Loulia Soueid Collection

The exhibition will be accompanied by a limited-edition catalogue published by Dongola, with an essay by art historian Dr. Marie Tomb.

The exhibition is taking place under the patronage of the Italian Embassy in Lebanon, and in collaboration with Christie’s. 

Image: The reverse side of Hussein Madi, Rome, 1967, oil on canvas, signed and dated by the artist

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