Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Abstract composition. Encre de chine on paper.

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1961
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 69 centimetres
    • Width: 54 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        signature and date
      • Inscription Position

        lower centre
  • Curator's comments

    Label Text:

    Michel Basbous (1921–1981)

    Born at Rachana, Lebanon, Michel Basbous studied sculpture at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts in Beirut. In 1949 he won a scholarship to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During a second stay in Paris, in 1954, he joined the atelier of the Russian artist and sculptor Ossip Zadkine (died 1967). An influential member of the Lebanese artistic community his work was frequently exhibited in Beirut as well as internationally. He collaborated with his brothers Alfred (1924–2006) and Youssef (1929–2001) who were also sculptors, as is his son Anachar (born 1969). Basbous became a Professor of Sculpture at the American University of Beirut in 1957 and a year later moved back to Rachana. He turned the village into an artistic and cultural centre known as the St-Paul de Vence on the Côte d’Azur of Lebanon.

    The drawings of Michel Basbous

    ‘I was born a sculptor’, wrote Basbous, and from the age of ten he would retreat to a barn at the bottom of the garden in Rachana to sculpt. Above the door he wrote, ‘Art is above everything’. Alongside his magnificent sculptures made from local stone, bronze or wood, he also drew prodigiously. In charcoal, pencil or ink, his drawings capture the movement of figures or move into abstraction. They often echo his sculptures, with some acting as preparatory drawings for them.


  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history


    2015 11 Jul-4 Nov, London, BM, G34, 'From the figurative to the abstract: modern art of the Arab world'

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Deposited 25/6/15 (deposit no. 1029).

  • Department

    Middle East

  • Registration number


Abstract composition. Encre de chine on paper.

Reproduced by permission of the artist. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image description



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Object reference number: RFM47134

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