#Hassan_Soliman - Art Talks
Born in 1928, Hassan Soliman graduated from Cairo’s School of Fine Arts in 1951. However, even before his graduation, Soliman’s skill as a draughtsman had drawn the attention of art critics and dealers, to the extent that one dealer offered him generous patronage in return for exclusive rights over what he produced.
In the Cairo art circles of the late 1940s and 50s there was a rumour that this patron dealt in fakes, and that Soliman had been asked to imitate the works of minor French impressionists on his behalf. When I asked Soliman about this ten years ago, he said he had only produced one fake Pissarro, though he also told me and colleague Fayza Hassan, who was interviewing him for the Weekly in 1998, that he had been barely 20 years old when a rich Jewish businessman in Cairo provided him with a generous stipend, an atelier in Qasr El-Nil St., and an Italian housekeeper in return for his services.
As Fayza Hassan wrote in her 1998 interview, “It is perhaps one of Soliman’s minor eccentricities to insist upon his debt to Cairo’s foreign communities, the Jews in particular, who, according to him, guided his first steps towards eminence. Without their attentive patronage, says Soliman, he would never have become a known painter overnight when he was barely in his twenties.”