كمال يوسف

Kamal YOUSSEF(كمال يوسف) Born in Egypt in 1923 ; Died Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA on September 21, 2019

In many ways, he represents an important historic and artistic intersection of Middle Eastern and Western cultures.

In the midst of the political and cultural ferment of British occupied Egypt, early in his career, Kamal joined a small group of young artists, who like himself, were full of passionate, new ideas and dreams of

painting in ways that were completely new to what had come before them. They called themselves Groupe de L’Art Contemporain and created a stir throughout Egypt and in the international community.

Among the first Moslem artists to exhibit in the West, Kamal represented Egypt in International Biennales in Venice, Italy (1950); Sao Paulo, Brazil (1952); and then exhibited in the Biennale in Alexandra, Egypt (1955).  The Museum of Modern Art in Cairo mounted his one-man show in 1952.

In 1954, Kamal and eight of the Groupe de L’Art Contemporain were invited by two major French newspapers to exhibit their work at a prominent gallery in Paris. Kamal was asked to accompany the show to Paris and represent the artists.  He chose to remain in Paris until 1956 when he came to the United States.

Kamal’s need to paint and express his artistic vision continued on a daily basis even as he practiced a successful career as a civil engineer and while he and his wife Maria raised their three children, Saul, Mounira and Hisham.

In 1989, Kamal moved to the country home he and his family built with their own hands on land in rural Pennsylvania. At age 79 Kamal added a new studio to the home and at age 82 he is still daily drawn to the canvas. Kamal’s paintings and the figures in them are showered with pathos, sensuality, and humor distilled through a complex understanding of color and an easy use of bold forms.

Throughout Kamal’s life, he has witnessed turmoil and conflict both cultural and political.  His art, inevitably, reflects those changes: from Egypt in the midst of revolution, to Paris in the ‘50’s, to America in the throes of a civil rights movement and the Vietnam Era, September 11th, its aftermath, and on to Iraq and its consequences.