Modernist Meeting: Alfred Basbous

1 December 2020 - 5 January 2021

Modernist Meeting was a digital solo exhibition of esteemed modernist Lebanese sculptor, Alfred Basbous. He had been educated and spent his formative years in Europe, studying in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts and socializing with influential figures in sculpture such as Henry Moore. Basbous was part of a pivotal movement that saw post-war, modern approaches to sculpture and the spirit of avant-gardism of the time translate into the topics and aesthetics that were pertinent to the Middle East.


The artist was known for his intimate understanding of human and animal forms, which occupied a central place within his oeuvre. Basbous was particularly adept at articulating his appreciation for the female figure into material form, as witnessed in the selected works such as Bédouine (1993) and Pudeur (1988). His sculptures in bronze fluidly blended faces and figures into sublime abstraction. Vache (1964) and Squirrel (1964) exhibited the artist's long-standing and deep-rooted affinity with organic forms, nature, and animals. Other works such as Tête Allongée (2004) and Tete (1975) were explicitly primal, suggesting that Basbous was keen to not only extend Western modernist sculpture to his native land but also extend his own country's history through artworks that felt at once like artifacts while elegantly modern.