Fateh Moudarres

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Fateh Moudarres
فاتح المدرس
Fateh al-Moudarres

Died1999 (aged 77)
EducationAccademia di Belle Arti di Roma
Known forPainting, Drawing

Fateh al-Moudarres (Arabic: فاتح المدرس‎) (1922–1999) was a Syrian painter and one of the leaders of the modern art movement in Syria. Moudarres studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, where he was influenced by Surrealism. After he completed his studies, he returned to Syria where he grew and honed his skills under the auspices of long-time friend, mentor, and tutor Wahbi Al-Hariri.


Born in Aleppo, Syria, Fateh Moudarres originally taught himself realist techniques before becoming interested in surrealism. He is considered a "master"[1] Syrian surrealist painter.


Accademia di Belle Arti[edit]

After receiving his high school degree from the Aleppo American College, Moudarres studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma in Rome from 1954 to 1960 and developed a distinctive style of painting that incorporated both movements.[1] He abandoned the religious iconography and Syrian Art references of his early work for non-objectivity in the 1960s. After 1967 however, his work took on political themes.

Ecole nationale superieur des Beaux Arts[edit]

Moudarres studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris for three years in the early 1970s, and honed his technical and compositional skills before returning to Syria to teach at the University of Damascus an opportunity that allowed him to interact with other young Syrian artists. During this time, he was mentored by Syrian artist Wahbi Al-Hariri, "The Last of the Classicists," with whom he would remain friends.[2][3][4]

Return to Syria[edit]

Upon his return from Italy late 1950s, Moudaress abandoned the traditional practices of painting prevalent in Syria at the time, and began to develop a technique drawn from the primitive and ancient arts of his country. In his expressionistic idiom reality is mixed with fiction. The heroes are taken both from the present and from ancient civilisations, and are both nameless peasants and legendary figures. Their square-shaped heads recall those of Assyrian statuary, and those of the figures in Palmyrene frescos, and also of early Christian iconography. These characters are enriched with warm and vibrant colours and executed in a variety of ways, sometimes with dense application of paint, sometimes scratched, or stippled, or with the addition of sand. Often a specific group of colours, such as red and black, or white and fawn, will dominate the painting.[5][6][7]

Evolution of Artistic Style[edit]

Growing up Fateh Moudarres spent much time in the countryside, but the agricultural crisis of the 1960s forced him to relocate to Damascus. The city at that time was experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and fast becoming an increasingly cramped and hostile environment in which to live. These conditions were compounded by the political and social unrest sweeping the Arab World. Against this backdrop Moudarres, along with several his artist contemporaries, often sought to depict the everyday people and the problems they encountered. He was especially moved by the life of ordinary people in the Syrian countryside. For them, what on the surface which can often incorrectly be characterized as an idyllic existence was in fact a way of life marred by problems caused by social upheavals. The present composition depicts the life of the simple peasants, showing the country bride and wedding party. In such a scene one might expect to see joyful celebration, but instead there is a palpable aura of sadness, as Moudarres reveals something of his feelings about suffering and helplessness of these women in the rural areas.[8][9]


Although Moudarres was a prolific artist, three main private collections of his work exist:

  • The Al-Hariri Family Currently the largest private collection of the works of Fateh Moudarres is kept by Mokhless Al-Hariri, son of Syrian artist, Wahbi Al-Hariri of The Al-Hariri Family.[4][9][10]
  • The Collection of Rudolf and Maria Fechter Dr. Rudolf Fechter, a German diplomat and statesman, was also a friend of Moudarres and bought several pieces; arguably it was the second major collection of the artist's work before slowly being auctioned recently at Christie's
  • Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, collection of modern and contemporary art from North Africa, the Middle East, India, Iran and Diaspora.
  • The Collection of Walter Scheel Scheel, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Germany, and later President, was exposed to Moudarres's work through Dr. Fechter and, an avid collector, acquired several pieces and maintains a small but sizeable collection.[11]

Posthumous Exchanges/Legacy[edit]

Since his death, prices of his works have been rising. In April 2013 the record price for his work was again raised, maintaining the steady rise his work fetches, when one painting sold for $315,750.00—well over the $150,000-$200,000 estimate by Christie's.[12] In 2007 average prices of his works were between $10,000 and $20,000. On 30 October 2008, however, at an auction of modern art at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai, one of his paintings, titled Achtar, dated 1983, was initially estimated at $120,000-$160,000 but realized $176,500. At the same auction, a new record would be set, but the rarity of the work's size and orientation set it apart: Wedding in The Kalamoon Mountains, Syria fetched $289,000.00.[13]

Christie's, Sale 7674 (2008)[edit]

On October 30, 2008, Christie's auctioned two of Moudarres's paintings.[14] The paintings were the property of private collectors and not part of any collection:

  • Achtar (Lot 11), $176,500.00
  • The Magician and His Family (Lot 20), $50,000.00

Christie's, Sale 7665 (2008)[edit]

On April 30, 2008, Christie's auctioned several Moudarres pieces, alongside works by Louay Kayyali. One of the latter's paintings realized $157,000.00.[15]

  • Kayce and Layla (Lot 1), $11,250.00
  • Untitled (Lot 2), $13,750.00
  • Family (Lot 3) $43,000.00
  • Wedding in The Kalamoon Mountains, Syria (Lot 10) $289,000.00
  • Untitled (Lot 24) $193,000.00

Christie's, Sale 5539 (2008)[edit]

On December 17, 2008, Christie's auctioned a small minor work; Untitled realized $10,558.00.[16]

Christie's, Sale 7802 (2009)[edit]

On April 29, 2009, Christie's auctioned off several of Fateh Moudarres's smaller minor works for prices averaging over $50,000.[17] The pieces were part of The Rudolf and Maria Fechter Collection:

  • The Icons of Moudarres (Lot 7), $98,500.00
  • Untitled (Lot 8), $35,500.00
  • Madonna with Dove (Lot 9), $32,500.00
  • Untitled, (Lot 10), $18,750.00
  • Untitled, (Lot 15), $62,500.00

Christie's, Sale 7802 (2009)[edit]

On April 29, 2009, Christie's auctioned off several of Fateh Moudarres's smaller minor works for prices averaging over $50,000.[17] The pieces were part of The Rudolf and Maria Fechter Collection:

  • The Icons of Moudarres (Lot 7), $98,500.00
  • Untitled (Lot 8), $35,500.00

Christie's, Sale 7804 (2009)[edit]

On October 27, 2009, Christie's auctioned two of Moudarres's paintings as part of the International Contemporary and Modern Art sale in Dubai[18]

  • Landscape (Lot 146), $152,500.00
  • Untitled (Lot 31), $122,500.00

Christie's, Sale 7895 (2010)[edit]

On October 26, 2010, Christie's auctioned eight of Moudarres's paintings in the International Modern and Contemporary Art in Dubai, Including Masterpieces from an Italian private collection.

  • Untitled (Lot 40), $374,500.00
  • Untitled (abstract composition) (Lot 83), $13,750.00
  • Untitled (Lot 84), $12,500.00
  • Untitled, (Lot 85), $15,000.00
  • Untitled, (Lot 86), $3,750.00
  • Untitled, (Lot 88), $12,500.00
  • Untitled (Mother and child), (Lot 89), $16,250.00
  • Family, (Lot 91), $22,500.00

Christie's, Sale 5613 (2010)[edit]

On November 9, 2010, Christie's auctioned eight of Moudarres's paintings in the TABLEAUX ORIENTALISTES ET ART MODERNE ARABE ET IRANIEN in Paris, Including Masterpieces from DE L'ANCIENNE COLLECTION DE MARIA ET SON EXCELLENCE L'AMBASSADEUR RUDOLF FECHTER.

  • Choral (God is love) (Lot 104), €20,625.00
  • Sheikh de Ras Schamra (Lot 105), €11,250.00
  • Three worlds of life (Lot 106), €3,750.00
  • L'enfant blond , (Lot 107), €9,375.00
  • Easy midnoon in April , (Lot 108), €6,000.00
  • Deux figures dans un fond vert , (Lot 109), €7,500.00
  • Têtes , (Lot 110), €79,375.00
  • La fille au chat , (Lot 111), €10,000.00

Christie's, Sale 7933 (2011)[edit]

On April 19, 2011, Christie's auctioned four of Moudarres's paintings as part of the Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art sale.[19]

  • Self-Portrait with Blue Fish (Lot 3), $74,500.00
  • The Beast Exit (Lot 5), $188,500.00
  • Carnaval (Lot 30), $56,250.00
  • Portrait of a Woman , (Lot 31), $56,250.00

Christie's, Sale 7935 (2011)[edit]

On October 25, 2011, Christie's auctioned one of Moudarres's paintings as part of the Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art Part I sale in Dubai[20]

  • Nour Al-Ahmar wa Naruhu (Red Light and its Fire) (Lot 9), $170,500.00

Christie's, Sale 8058 (2012)[edit]

On April 18, 2012, Christie's auctioned one of Moudarres's paintings as part of the Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art Part II sale in Dubai[21]

  • Women at the Wedding (Lot 106), $80,500.00

Christie's, Sale 8061 (2013)[edit]

On April 16, 2013, Christie's auctioned one of Moudarres's paintings as part of the 2013 Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art Part I sale in Dubai[22]

  • Untitled (Lot 10), $315,750.00 [12]


  1. ^ a b https://www.reuters.com/article/2008/03/14/arts-arabs-art-dc-idUSL1073162720080314
  2. ^ http://www.meemartgallery.com/art_exhibiting.php?id=45
  3. ^ http://www.moc.gov.sy/index.php?p=96&id=13121
  4. ^ a b PRSyria http://www.prsyria.com/en/index.php?id=255#.VA8pSPmwKtY. Retrieved 9 September 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ http://chelseaartgalleries.com/artists/F/Fateh+Moudarres.html
  6. ^ http://wwar.com/masters/m/moudarres-fateh.html
  7. ^ http://www.artnet.com/artist/424200939/fateh-moudarres.html
  8. ^ http://www.aljadid.com/features/munif2.html
  9. ^ a b https://www.onefineart.com/artists/painters/Fateh-Moudarres
  10. ^ http://www.jennaburlingham.com/artists/31-Fateh-Moudarres/biography/
  11. ^ http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5193527
  12. ^ a b http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5665795
  13. ^ http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5193534
  14. ^ http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/searchresults.aspx?intSaleID=22010#action=refine&intSaleID=22010&sid=fa58dafb-e521-4bbe-bd49-44678cc5035f
  15. ^ http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/searchresults.aspx?intSaleID=21945#action=paging&intSaleID=21945&sid=d7264a9a-b49e-4bcd-8674-384644ee6482&selectedids=&num=45&pg=1
  16. ^ http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/searchresults.aspx?intSaleID=21980#action=paging&intSaleID=21980&sid=1baf590f-0999-44f2-8e0b-77895387a210&pg=2
  17. ^ a b http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/searchresults.aspx?intSaleID=22321#action=refine&intSaleID=22321&sid=c6ff2446-ae6a-47d3-8aff-85a3031a22b3&selectedids=36371
  18. ^ http://www.christies.com/salelanding/index.aspx?intSaleID=22323
  19. ^ http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/salebrowse.aspx?intsaleid=23295&viewType=list&action=paging&pg=1
  20. ^ http://www.christies.com/salelanding/index.aspx?intSaleID=23297
  21. ^ http://www.christies.com/salelanding/index.aspx?intSaleID=23644
  22. ^ http://www.christies.com/sales/modern-contemporary-arab-Iranian-Turkish-Art-April-2013/part1.aspx

External links[edit]