Lebanese artist Hussein Madi dies aged 85

Abstract and figurative painter leaves behind body of work showcasing his unique style

Lebanese artist Hussein Madi in his studio. Photo: Mark Hachem Gallery
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Lebanese artist Hussein Madi has died.

Mark Hachem Gallery in Beirut, which has represented the artist for more than 10 years, announced the death of the renowned multi-disciplinary artist on Thursday.

“The departure of maestro Hussein Madi has left a profound void," an Instagram post read.

"With heavy hearts, we share the news of the passing of this extraordinary soul, a luminary whose vibrant spirit will forever resonate within the walls of the Mark Hachem Gallery.”

Madi was a significant cultural figure in Lebanon and the region working across multiple mediums including sculpture, painting and printmaking.

“As we honour Hussein Madi, let us not mourn the end but celebrate the everlasting journey of his art – a journey that lives on within these walls and in the hearts of all touched by his brilliance,” the gallery added.

Born in 1938 in Chebaa, Madi studied art at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts in Beirut and art school in Rome. Learning art and living between the two cities, mainly from 1973 to 1986, Chebaa explored concepts within Arabic cultural heritage and pictorial ideas, along with the style and aesthetic history of many European modern masters.

Drawing inspiration from artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Madi used his discerning eye to combine elements of their approach with Islamic art’s principles of composition and harmony. His style was a particularly unique fusion which resulted in works that felt intricately crafted but also free-flowing and effortless.

Celebrated for his bold use of colour, form and line and for perfecting the blending of varying styles and again elements of the planned and the organic, Madi’s subject matter included abstract shapes and forms, as well as figures.

He became known for his depiction of women specifically their statuesque silhouettes and elegant curves painted with graceful lines against flat interiors or geometric backgrounds.

Madi’s art has been showcased worldwide, from across the Arab region as well as France, Italy and Japan as well as in institutions and festivals such as the British Museum and the Venice Biennale.

Updated: January 18, 2024, 2:52 PM