Contemporary Arts

Kamel Mustafa

(b 1917 – d 1982),



Kamel Mustafa graduated from the Faculty of Fine Art in 1941. Also in 1950, he had a diploma in restoration technique of oil painting. He was Professor and Head of Painting Department at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria then Dean of the Faculty from 1969 to 1977, thus preserving the liberated values spread by the late artist Ahmad Othman, who established the college.


He was an Impressionist painter who leaned towards academic realism. He belongs to the second generation of Modern Egyptian artists who sit between the Pioneers such as Mahmoud Said, Youssef Kamel and Mohammed Naghi and the Surrealists, Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar, Samir Rafi and Hamed Nada. He used burnt umber to achieve the lightest possible colors, graduating towards dark, helping to create the illusion of three-dimensionality in painting. From 1936, the artist spent ten years working in Cairo painting a wide-range of subjects in an impressionist style including traditional scenes from the city and rural life; weddings, souks, markets, folk dances and other elements of traditional Egyptian life.


Between 1946 and 1950 Mustafa travelled to Italy for further study. There he was exposed to various trends, including post-impressionism and other modernist styles. By the beginning of the 1950s his work passed through a distinctly modernist phase, where composition and execution were carefully controlled.


His first solo exhibition was in 1979. The show, which took place at the Museum of the Faculty of Fine Art in Alexandria, was a chronicle of the artist’s achievements. He drew the attention of critics and visitors when he exhibited his works at Alexandria Biennale (two sessions) and Venice Biennale (three sessions). He was the Guest of Honor of 19th Alexandria Biennale in 1997. Kamel Mustafa also exhibited his works in Italy, Warsaw, Poland; and Berlin, Germany.

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