Lebanese-American artist Etel Adnan dies aged 96: 'A poetic and colourful soul'

She wrote the acclaimed the 1977 novel 'Sitt Marie Rose', which was set during the Lebanese Civil War

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The famed Lebanese-American writer and artist Etel Adnan has died in Paris at the age of 96.

"I learned about Etel Adnan’s passing with immense sadness," said Jack Lang, director of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

"This poetic and colourful soul, extremely sweet, sang our suffering, our joy and our loves. She was a rare and complete artist whose talent shone with life and shimmering intelligence.”

Adnan was born in 1925 to a Greek mother and Syrian father, and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. Studying at French language schools in Lebanon, she then read philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris.

She started painting in the late 1950s, while at the same time working as a professor of philosophy in California.

Perhaps her most famous literary work was her 1977 novel Sitt Marie Rose, which focused on the character of Marie Rose Boulos.

Set before and during the Lebanese Civil War, it has been translated into more than 10 languages and won the Franco-Arabic Friendship Award.

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.

Adnan split her time between Paris and California.

Updated: November 14, 2021, 8:40 PM