Onsi was born in Beirut. His father, a general practitioner, had been one of the first Beirut Muslims to study modern Western medicine and his mother came from the prominent Sunni Muslim family Salam. After an attempt to study medicine, Onsi studied painting in Beirut with Khalil Saleeby. From 1922 to 1927, he travelled to Transjordan, where he taught painting and English to the children of King Abdullah. The discovery of the desert and its colours during this stay had a major influence on his work. In 1928, Onsi went to Paris to continue his training and stayed for 3 years, attending the Académie Julian and different workshops. During that period, Onsi focused on painting portraits, nudes, and Parisian scenery. In 1933, he returned to Lebanon, bringing back a colorful impressionist palette and a French second wife. From then on, his work focused on the Lebanese landscape. After his death in 1969, he became one of Lebanon's best-known artists.
- Omar Onsi retrospective, Sursock Museum, Beirut, 1997
- Art from Lebanon, Beirut Exhibition Center, 2012
- Cyr, Georges (1950). Omar Onsi (in French). Beirut: Murex. OCLC 229805154.
- Harawi, Elias (1997). عمر أنسي، ١٩٠١-١٩٦٩ (in Arabic). Beirut: Musée Nicolas Sursock. OCLC 41121364.
- Kassir, Samir; Debevoise, Malcolm; Fisk, Robert (2010). Beirut. University of California Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-520-25668-2.
- "Lebanon - party of God". PBS. May 2003. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Berque, Jacques; Chevallier, Dominique (1976). Les Arabes par leurs archives (XVI-XX siecles). Centre national de la recherche scientifique. p. 197. ISBN 978-2-222-01836-0.
- "عُمر الأنسي" (in Arabic). Yabeyrouth. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Naef, Silvia (1996). À la recherche d'une modernité arabe: l'évolution des arts plastiques en Égypte, au Liban et en Irak (in French). Slatkine. p. 160. ISBN 978-2-05-101376-5.
- Omar Onsi : The gardener of epiphanies. Beirut: CREE. 1985. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Mikdadi, Salwa. "Modern Art in West Asia: From Colonial to Post-colonial Period". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- "Omar Onsi". Art in Lebanon. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- "Consultation collective sur les problèmes contemporains des arts arabes dans leurs relations socio-culturelles avec le monde arabe" (PDF) (in French). Unesco. December 1973: 4. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Alex Klaushofer (2007). Paradise divided: a portrait of Lebanon. Signal Books. p. 230. ISBN 978-1-904955-35-1.
- "Art From Lebanon". Beirut Exhibition Center. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
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