Egypt sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar's Three Beggars to go under the hammer for the first time

Ahram Online , Wednesday 6 Mar 2019

Mahmoud Mokhtar’s Three Beggars will be put on sale during Sotheby's Orientalist and Middle Eastern Art Week

Three Beggars
Mahmoud Mokhtar, Three Beggars, bronze, circa 1929-1930 (Photo: courtesy of Sotheby London)

The Three Beggars (1929-1930), a bronze work by renowned Egyptian sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar, will be auctioned by Sotheby's of London on 30 April.

One of only two known examples of the sculpture (one of which is in the collection of the Mokhtar Museum in Cairo), the Sotheby's sale will take place within Orientalist and Middle Eastern Art Week (26-30 April).

The Three Beggars was Mokhtar's gift to his teacher, Jules-Félix Coutan, in the 1930s. It is the first time the sculpture will be put on the market.

The estimated sale price is £80,000-£120,000.

"A rare and important sculpture by Egypt’s most significant modern sculptor, Mahmoud Mokhtar’s Three Beggars embodies the artist’s use of his classical training to mould local figures from Egyptian culture and Islamic history," reads the Sotheby's press release.

"The Three Beggars depicts three Egyptian men wearing long galabia cloaks and tight turbans – a style of dress still prevalent in Egypt today. Unlike the hyper-smooth surfaces of Mokhtar’s small marble sculptures of peasant women, the bronze is choppy and gestural, evoking the work of Auguste Rodin. The composition of three men, each of whom appears vulnerable in a different way, echoes Rodin’s Three Shades, of which Mokhtar likely would have known. Instead of blindly copying the French master’s work, he reworks the composition to express his own identity."

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