"Nun", a famous painting by the leading portrait artist Ahmed Sabry is among the numerous valuable works of art, which have disappeared never to be seen again. It was awarded the badge of honor in 1929, and bought by the Modern Art Museum at LE75.
The painting, whose value is currently estimated at LE75 million, was taken out of Egypt in the 1970s to take part in an exhibition. It disappeared after it was transferred to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington.
The list of disappeared paintings includes the “She with the golden strands” by Mahmoud Saeed, which took part in many exhibitions, but then disappeared due to the lack of proper government supervision. A series of works, called “Khabe’et al-Ghouri” was found at Wekalet al-Ghouri and registered, before it was discovered that three pieces were missing. The works, authored by Egyptian, Turkish and Iranian artists, were going to be allocated a space in the museum, but the paintings disappeared before this could happen.
Hazem al-Mistikawy, director of the Modern Art Museum, said that “the museum statistics are inaccurate. No list of museum possessions exists, that would specify the amount of paintings currenty rented. There is also no proper registration system. The employees record the dimensions and features of the paintings without paying attention to their artistic value.” He added that half of the works possessed by the museum lack true artistic value.
A decades-old painting by Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar, glorifying the construction of Egypt s High Dam back in the 1960s was also declared missing, stirring controversy that it might have been stolen or destroyed during the 2011 revolution.
Speaking to Youm 7 newspaper, Gazzar’s daughter Fayrouz denied that the painting was burned in 2012, saying that they filed a complaint to Culture Minister Abdel Wahed al-Nabawy, demanding the disappearance to be investigated. The family discovered the painting was missing when they were looking at works by her father and other artists at the Modern Art Museum.
The family, according to Fayrouz, has not yet been informed about outcome of the investigations.
Former Culture Minister Gaber Asfour ordered earlier this month the investigation of the destruction of a famous painting by Salah Anany, depicting Egypt’s most famous figures from the 20th century
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm