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Born in Beirut, Lebanon, 1925 - 2021


Etel Adnan is a contemporary American-Lebanese painter and writer known for her vibrantly colored, abstracted renditions of mountains, ocean, and sky. Adnan’s works poetically interpret the Northern Californian landscape around San Francisco Bay, where she has spent much of her life. “When I do a painting it may be like a landscape, but there is more to it,” she has said. “You don’t recognize what landscape it is, as it is not a particular landscape—it is maybe a memory of a particular landscape.


Art has a political function in the sense that it brings something life-enhancing, a desire for life.” Born on February 24, 1925 in Beirut, Lebanon, she studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at U.C. Berkeley before writing her famous novel Sitt Marie-Rose, which was published in Paris in 1977. The novel was enormously influential, and has since been translated into more than 10 languages.



Adnan was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the British Museum in London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among others. 

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