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On View:Stockholm
Ivan Aguéli
1869 - 1917
Sweden Staden bland kullarna (Landskap från Egypten), ca 1895
The City in the Hills (Egyptian Landscape)
Tempera on canvas
Bildmått: 22,5 × 30,5 cm Ram: 33 × 41 × 4 cm
Donation 1920 från Anna Aguéli
NM 2202 On view at Stockholm
- About the work

In a world that distinguished clearly between centre and periphery, many artists in the early 20th century turned to the “untrained” and “primitive” art of distant cultures for inspiration.


After breaking with his father and ending up in jail for participating in anarchist riots in Paris, Ivan Aguéli went to Egypt in 1894, and he lived in Cairo for most of his remaining life. Four years later, he converted to Islam. Despite Islam’s prohibition against depiction – a dilemma he discussed in several texts – he painted landscapes, palm tree groves and portraits. The City in the Hills is a typical example of how he, as he describes it, sought the greatest possible simplicity.


Influenced by the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg, Aguéli devoted himself to studies, translations and art criticism, writing large parts of the editorial content for the Italian-Arabic periodical Il Convito, with the aim of reducing colonialist prejudices against the Arabic peoples. In 1916, he was deported by the British colonial powers.


Ivan Aguéli only took part in one single exhibition during his short life, he had other priorities and was uninterested in fame in the art world. In hindsight, his practice could be described as being an artist beyond the prevailing concept of art.
- Exhibition history
- Exhibition catalogues