Saloua Raouda Choucair

  • Born 1916 in Beirut, Lebanon/Ottoman Empire
Saloua Raouda Choucair began her art studies in Beirut in the mid-1930s, frequenting the studio of Moustafa Farroukh. Later she trained under Omar Onsi (1901–1969) and developed an enthusiasm for Islamic art and architecture while traveling in Egypt in 1943. Her 1947 show at the Arab Cultural Gallery in Beirut was one of the first abstract exhibitions in the region. In 1948 she moved to Paris, where she took life drawing classes at the École des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) and trained in the studio of Fernand Léger (1881–1955). In 1950 her inclination toward geometric shapes and Arabic letters led her to organize L’Atelier de l'Art Abstrait (Studio of Abstract Art) with other avant-garde artists. During this time Choucair created her first non-objective works, showing early experimentation with repeated forms. She returned to Beirut in 1951. Choucair worked in different mediums and materials but became especially noted for her wood and stone sculptures, such as her “Poems” series, realized as modular systems or forms comprised of similar units. Despite her early success in Paris, where in the early 1950s she showed in the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles and had a solo exhibition at Galerie Colette Allendy, Choucair’s work was not widely recognized outside Lebanon until her 2013 retrospective at Tate Modern in London.

Artworks by Saloua Raouda Choucair in the exhibition