Hussein Madi

B. 1938

Seminal painter, sculptor and printmaker, Hussein Madi is best known for his colourful works that harmonise abstract design with Islamic art.

Madi was based in Rome for much of the Seventies and Eighties, studying everything from frescoes and mosaics to sculpture techniques in bronze and wax while teaching at the National Art Institute of the Lebanese University, Beirut in parallel. In 1973, he made the first of his now-famous alphabetic works, for which he created a grid of forms representing visual riffs on the letters of the Arabic alphabet. Over time Madi developed several of those forms into symbolic figures that were oft-repeated in his oeuvre.

Aside from his alphabetic works, Madi’s subjects are typically living matter, oscillating between horses, birds, and vampish renditions of the female form. Inspired by European artists likes Matisse and Picasso, Madi displays superb draftsmanship, his eye notably sensitive to the linear definition of form.

In the past decade Madi has become one of the most commercially successful artists in the Middle East setting a record in 2018 with the sale of his Baghdad Landscape painting, which sold at auction for $75,000.

In 1962, after completing his studies at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts in Beirut Madi worked in Baghdad, Iraq for a short period of time before moving to Rome, Italy in 1963 to complete his studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti.

His first solo exhibitions were held at Dar El-Fann Gallery, Beirut and Poliedro Gallery, Rome (1968). Madi has since had more than sixty solo exhibitions across the world including Cortina Gallery, Milan, Italy (1972); Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France (1989); Alice Moghabghab Gallery, Beirut (1995) and Menasart, Beirut, Lebanon (2012). His works have been displayed in the Ueno Museum, Tokyo, Japan (1972); British Museum, London, UK (1990); Sharjah Museum, UAE (1997) and included in the Alexandria Biennale, Egypt (1965, 1967); First International Biennale, Cairo, Egypt (1994) and the 23rd International Biennale, Sao Paulo, Brazil (1996). Madi presented his work at the Venice Biennale (2003) and was awarded Order of the Star by the Italian Government for outstanding contribution to the country during the same year.



1958, Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, Beirut


First Prize for Engraving, Citta di Lecce, Italy
Salon’s Prize for Sculpture offered by the Italian Cultural Centre
Sursock Museum 5th Salon Prize for Pain 



2019, Mark Hachem Paris, Hussein Madi - Recent Works

2019, Mark Hachem Beirut, Hussein Madi - Recent Works

2019, Unexpected Trove - The Unseen Works of Hussein Madi (Rome 1964-1970), Beirut Art Fair (paintings, solo)

2014, An Endless Sense of Creativity, Collages, Lithographs, Paintings and Sculptures, al markhiya gallery, Doha Qatar

2010, Mark Hachem, New York,  (Peintures, Sculptures)

2010, Artspace Gallery, Dubai (Paintings)

2009, Aida cherfan Fine Art, Beirut, Lebanon(Sculpture Exhibition)

2008, Mark Hachem, New York,  (Peintures, Sculptures)

2008, Aida Cherfan Fine Art, Beirut, Lebanon (Paintings: Omaggio alla Donna)

2008, University of Balamand (Paintings, Sculptures, Drawings & Prints)

2006, ArtSpace Gallery, Dubai

2006, Aida Cherfan Fine Art, Beirut, Lebanon (Paintings)

2005, Aida Cherfan Fine Art, Beirut, Lebanon (Graphic Art Exhibition)

2004, Aida Cherfan Fine Art, Beirut, Lebanon (Paintings & Signature)

2004, Italian Embassy in Lebanon (Beirut)

2003, Venice Biennale

2002, Aida Cherfan Fine Art, Beirut, Lebanon (Drawings)

2001, Mark Hachem, Paris,  (Peintures, Sculptures)

2001, Aida Cherfan Fine Art, Beirut, Lebanon (Sculptures)

2000, Aida Cherfan Fine Art, Beirut, Lebanon (Paintings)

2000, Mark Hachem, Art Miami, (Peintures, Sculptures)

1999, Music Festival, Al Bustan HotelBeit Mery, Lebanon

1999, Euro Art 1999 Special Liban, Geneva

1998, Alice Moghabghab Gallery, Beirut (Prints)

1998, Cairo Opera

1997, Sharjah Museum

1997, Alice Moghabghab Gallery, Beirut (Paintings, Drawing)

1996, Alice Moghabghab Gallery, Beirut (Paintings, Sculptures)

1996, 23rd International Biennale, São Paulo, Brazil

1995, Green Art Gallery, Dubai

1995, Qatar Museum for Modern Art, Doha

1995, Alice Moghabghab Gallery, Beirut (Paintings)

1994, L’entretemps Gallery, Mansourieh, Beirut

1994, First International Biennale, Cairo (Prints)

1994, 1st Cairo Int’l Bienanal in Graphic Art Major

1994, Rochane Galler, Beirut (Collages)

1994, Darat El-Founoun, Amman

1993, Atassi Gallery, Damascus

1992, Sursock Museum, Beirut

1992, Yarze Country Club, Lebanon

1990, 50 x 70 Gallery, Beirut

1990, British Museum, London

1989, Platform Gallery, Beirut (Drawing and Prints)

1989, Platform Gallery, Beirut (Paintings)

1989, L’Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

1988, Platform Gallery, Beirut (Sculptures)

1988, Platform Gallery, Beirut (Pastel and Water Colors)

1987 Association of Lebanese Artists, Beirut

1986 Association of Lebanese Artists, Beirut

1985 Petra Bank Art Gallery, Amman

1984 Kuwait Biennale

1984 Graphic Art Biennale, Bradford, U.K

1984 Platform Gallery, Beirut

1983 Association of Lebanese Artists, Beirut

1982 Sursock Museum, Beirut

1981 Mandaloun Gallery, Dbayeh, Beirut

1980 12th International Painting Festival, Cagnes-sur-Mer France

1980 Italian Cultural Center, Beirut

1980 Antique Gallery, Beirut

1980 Faris Gallery, Paris

1979 Held first retrospective, Chamber of Commerce, Beirut

1978 Samia Tutunji Gallery, Beirut

1978 International Print Exhibition, Lecce, Italy

1977 Samia Tutunji Gallery, Beirut

1976 Islamic Art Exhibit, London

1976 Esagono Gallery, Lecce, Italy

1975 Novelli Gallery, Verone, Italy

1974 Samia Tutunji Gallery, Beirut (solo)

1974 Cite de Lecce, Italy (1st prize in Sculpture)

1974 Exhibited at the Baghdad International Biennale

1974 Modulart Gallery, Beirut

1973 Contact Gallery, Beirut

1973 Trifalco Gallery, Roma

1972 Trifalco Gallery, Italy

1972 Ueno Museum, Tokyo

1972 Ministry of Tourism Art Exhibit, Roma

1972 Contini Gallery, Roma

1972 Cavour Gallery, Milano

1972 Cortina Gallery, Milan

1971, La Estadera Gallery, Italy

1970, Soligo Gallery, Roma (solo)

1970, Magnagraccia Gallery, Taranto, Italy

1968, Sursock Museum, Beirut (1st prize of sculpture)

1968, Dar El-Fann Gallery, Beirut (solo)

1968, Poliedro Gallery, Roma (solo)

1968, Italien Culture Center (1st prize in Sculpture)

1967, Alexandria Biennale

1966, Exhibition in the Museum of Beirut

1965, The Gallery of the Association of Lebanese Artists

1965, Sursock Museum, Beirut (1st prize of painting)

1965, Exhibited at the Alexandria Biennale, Egypt



Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
MACAM, Aalita, Lebanon
Nicolas Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon
The collection of the Ministry of Culture, Beirut, Lebanon
KA collection, Beirut, Lebanon
The collection of Ramzi Saidi, Beirut, Lebanon
The collection of Mazen Soueid, Beirut, Lebanon
Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
The British Museum, London, UK
Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, US
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar
The Khalid Shoman Collection, Darat Al Funun, Amman, Jordan
Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan



2008, Porter, V, 'Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East (Dubai 2008)', BMP, (p. 148)

2006, Porter, V, 'Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East', BMP, (p. 135)

2005, Madi, H. The Art of Madi



2019, Financial Times, Are guarantees the ‘invisible hand’ of the art market?