The Estate of Wassef Boutros-Ghali


Wassef Boutros-Ghali was a painter born into a family of politicians in Cairo, Egypt in 1924. Showing an early proficiency in the arts, he later joined the studio of Jaro Hilbert, a classically trained painter who became Boutros-Ghali’s mentor. Eventually, Boutros-Ghali left his political legacy to pursue a career in architecture. He served as a technical consultant for the environment and urbanism with the United Nations, and executed building in Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Sudan. All the while, he continued his artistic practice.

His evolution as an artist was also precipitated by restrictive circumstance. Political revolution and a necessary relocation in 1963 constrained his access to artistic materials and supplies. Nonetheless he persevered, creating an experimental body of work that informed his artistic process throughout his life. Boutros-Gauli moved to New York in 1971 where his practice was further elevated, invigorated by the art scene there at the time. Larger canvases and abstracted forms became more prominent in his work. Additionally, he replaced oils with acrylics as his choice medium.

Upon returning to Cairo in 1985, Boutros-Ghali’s compositions featured vibrant colors that convey energy and motion as well as a geometry that bares notes of modern architecture. Harmony and balance are made visible through asymmetry combined with a subtle tension in the preservation of the optical experience of space. With subjects based on mythology, nuanced observations of daily life, and stories influenced by dreams, creating works that speak to the pure and unrestricted physicality of painting. Boutros-Ghali continued to paint until his death in 2023 in Cairo.

Boutros-Ghali’s work is included in the collections of the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL, USA. His 2023 solo exhibitions include Wassef Boutros-Ghali: Echoes of Creativity, albertz benda, Los Angeles and Wassif Boutros-Ghali Arts Club London, curated by Wedel Art, London, UK. He was featured in the group exhibition, Exhibition Nº 120 (maybe) at Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris, FR in 2022.


Art Fairs


1924 - 2023


1971-1984  Principal Technical Advisor to the United Nations 

                       Development Program (UNDP), New York, NY


1963             Conducts studies on behalf of UNESCO for the 

                       restoration of ancient monuments in Tunisia, Algeria, 

                       and Morocco


1950             Opens his first architectural practice in Cairo, Egypt


1946              Boutros- Ghali graduates first in his class for 

                        Architectural Engineering from Cairo University


1924              Born in Cairo, Egypt



Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE

Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL, USA



2023              Wassef Boutros-Ghali: Echoes of Creativity, albertz 

                         benda, Los  Angeles

                         Wassif Boutros-Ghali Arts Club London, curated by

                         Wedel Art,London, UK

2021-2022  Wassef Boutros-Ghali I Levante, Christine König

                         Galerie, Vienna, AT


2021               Frieze Masters with Rhona Hoffman Gallery and

                         albertz benda, London, UK

                         Wassef Boutros-Ghali, Rhona Hoffman Gallery,

                         Chicago, IL 

                         The Armory Show, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, New York,



2020             Wassef Boutros-Ghali: A Retrospective, albertz benda,

                        New York, NY

                        The Armory Show, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, New York,



2019               Art Basel Miami Beach, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Miami

                         Beach, FL



2022              Exhibition Nº 120 (maybe)  Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris, FR




Gyimesi, Jenna. "These Retirees Were Just Artists in Waiting, " AARP, July 2021


Clavarino, Elena. "Wassef Boutros-Ghali: A Retrospective," Graydon 

Carter's Air Mail, October 9, 2020. 


El Chiati, Wafika. Wassef Boutros-Ghali: A Retrospective. Cairo, Egypt; 2003. 


Grosso, Caroline. "Art Basel Miami Beach 2019: The Ultimate Guide to          What to Do and What to See," L'Officiel USA. December 7, 2019.


Hawa, Kaleem. "Wassef Boutros-Ghali: A Retrospective," Brooklyn Rail, December 20,2020.


MacAdam, Barbara. Imaginary Geometry: Wassef Boutros-Ghali's Art. New York, NY; 2020.



1924               Wassef Boutros-Ghali is born in Cairo, Egypt. His family 

                          is Coptic, a Christian religious minority in Egypt. 


1936               Wassef begins to study art in the studio of Czech realist 

                         painter Jaro Hilbert. 


1941                Wassef enters Cairo University to train as an architect in

                         the faculty of engineering. His instructors are trained in

                         the Beaux Arts and his education leans toward that 

                         school rather than international modernism, although

                         the latter is more a reflection of his sensibilities. 


1946                Wassef graduates first in his class and wins several

                          competitions soon thereafter.


1947                 After the war, Wassef, a self-proclaimed disciple of Le 

                          Corbusier, visits the architect's works in France and

                          then travels to Switzerland to visit Bauhaus and other

                          modernist buildings. He spends an intensive period

                          visiting all of the major museums in Europe. 


1950                 Construction of Dar El Nil, Wassef’s first architectural

                           project is completed. The building follows the

                           international modernist style, an exception at the time

                           in Egypt.


1952                  The Egyptian revolution of 1952. A coup d’état is waged

                            by the Free Officers Movement, aimed at deposing 

                            King Farouk. Anti-monarchist and anti-aristocratic,

                            this resulted in widespread agrarian and economic

                            reform. Land ownership is limited to 100 acres. The 

                            Boutros-Ghali family loses a significant amount of

                            their wealth in land re-distribution. Nonetheless, the

                            family continues to serve and support their country.


1960                   Political strife continues. As things become 

                             increasingly difficult in Egypt, Wassef opens an 

                             architectural office in Khartoum, Sudan (formerly

                             Anglo Egyptian Sudan). During this period Wassef

                             paints numerous watercolors. He also begins to paint

                             in oil.


1963                   Rome, Italy. Wassef moves his family to Rome, Italy, for

                             over four years. He continues to work between

                             Khartoum, Port Sudan, and Rome. He is asked by

                             UNESCO to go to various countries - including Tunisia,

                             Algeria, and Morocco - to make feasibility studies for

                             restoration of ancient monuments. Wassef sketches

                             religious themes.


1969                   The Sudan has its own revolution, the second for

                             Wassef. All the banks, his main clients, are

                             nationalized and his work diminishes. Wassef decides

                             to leave the Sudan.  


1971                     Wassef moves to New York City for his role as Principal

                              Technical Advisor to the United Nations Development

                              Program (UNDP).


1974                    Wassef paints his first work in acrylic: Quand vit venir



1984                     Retires from UNDP


Late 80s           Painting full-time. Wassef dedicates himself full

                              time to his art practice. His subject matter turns toward

                              Biblical (New Testament) stories such as The Last Supper,

                              The Entry of Christ intro Jerusalem and Entombment.

                              These subjects are rendered in watercolor

                              which provides for more precision and intimacy. 


2007                   Returns to Cairo. Wassef starts spending the

                              majority of the year in Cairo. The equilibrium of

                              geometric spaces plays a bigger role in his



2011                      25th January Revolution in Cairo. This represents

                               the third revolution that Wassef lived through.


2023                    Dies in Cairo, Egypt.