Egyptian painter Salah Taher (1911-2007) earned his art degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1934, where he started his career, teaching until 1954. A prolific artist, Taher is well known for his contribution as a philosopher of art. His style moved from realistic to figurative symbolism, and finally to abstraction, for which he achieved great critical acclaim. Taher gained fame for his bold colours and his use of different tools such as the knife which he used to spread transparent coats of diluted paint.
He became even more famous in the 1960s when he was appointed head of the Museum of Modern Arts. In 1962, he was appointed head of the Opera. In 1966, he joined Al-Ahram newspaper. He painted more than 35 paintings for the walls of Al-Ahram.
His work is also part of the White House collection.
He was granted the highest awards in Egypt and internationally, including the 1961 Guggenheim Foundation Award. In 2001, he was honoured at the soft opening of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which was entitled “The brush and the pen”, with a book about his work published.
He remained artistic consultant at Al-Ahram newspaper till his death at the age of 95, on 6 February 2007.
His paintings are on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art in Cairo, and the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha. In 2018, his work titled Metaphysic was acquired by the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah and is now part of a long-term exhibition at the Sharjah Art Museum.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 5 August, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly