Seif Wanly

1906 – 1979
Seif Wanly is an Egyptian visual artist who was born in Alexandria, March 31, 1906, and died in Stockholm, February 15, 1979. He was a professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria, where he taught oil painting since the inception of the faculty in the summer of 1957. Wanly also acted as advisor to the cultural palaces in Alexandria, and was was the president of the “National Society of Fine Arts.”
Wanly is considered to be one of the most famous visual artists in Egypt. His studio was a workspace for artists and intellectuals for more than 40 years. Seif and his brother Adham worked hand-in-hand throughout their artistic career. Despite his brother’s death, Wanly carried the torch and continued his artistic journey. In fact, Seif and Adham have a museum that is named after them in the “Mahmoud Said Museums Complex” in Alexandria.
The two brothers depicted what daily life in Alexandria looked like; from what they witnessed in its amusement parks of circus acrobatics and ballet dancers, to what local and international performances in the Opera House and theaters were like.
In fact, the works in which Wanly portrayed ballet dancers are among his most prominent achievements which prompted many artists and critics to make comparisons between his works and the works of the French artist Degas.
Furthermore, Wanly traveled to Nubia, and in only 14 days he was able to produce nearly four hundred study paintings, turning 100 of them into oil paintings. Wanly’s work is inspired by Alexandria’s pure, authentic character- his style and method altered from one stage to another. Some of his works accentuate the larger picture without focusing on the details, while in other works he emphasizes the details in an attempt to develop a style through which he embodies the natural scene of the city of Alexandria.

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