Britt Boutrous Ghali
Britt is as enigmatic as she is revered and is considered one of the important Norwegian artists of this
century. Steeped in the early influences of abstract expressionism, she studied painting and sculpture
under Ellen Christensen and Ferdinand Lunde in Oslo in the late 1950’s. Her earliest work debuted in
Paris at Galerie de L’ Université in 1965 at the same time that Niki de Saint Phalle joined her onto the
Paris art scene. Britt participated in the Abstract Expressionist movement in Europe in the 1960’s and
1970’s, and is still driven by these early influences.
Britt has exhibited internationally throughout her career. Her work is widely collected in both public
and private collections worldwide. In 1996 Britt was awarded the Saint Olav’s Order, the highest
Norwegian honor given to an artist, by King Haakon of Norway, for promoting Norway through her art
abroad. Edvard Munch is the only other artist to have received this honor during his lifetime.
Britt was born in 1937 in Svolvaer, located in the northern most part of Norway where the saturation of
light in the summer clashes with the total lack thereof all winter. Her early years were overcome by
the harsh weather and daunting pressure of the Second World War. This powerful backdrop provided
a fertile landscape for her bursting, colorful and emotional work.
In great contrast to her beginnings, Britt has spent the last 40 years in Egypt. Her studio is a barge on
the Nile which serves as a place of abundance—not only for local artists and eccentrics to meet, but
also for people who travel from afar to see and collect her work. The many years spent in Egypt’s rich,
colorful and exotic culture and environment has greatly influenced her work.