Biography

Born in Damascus, Said Tahseen (1904–1985) was a self-taught artist who began his career by studying art in libraries and was influenced by folk art traditions such as painting on silk. His early works were either realistic with brilliant colours and an attention to detail or impressionist in style, with studies of shadows and light.

In 1934, Tahseen left to study art education at the Teachers House in Baghdad, where he was influenced by revolutionary Arab nationalist ideas. When he returned to Syria, he worked as an art teacher and his paintings evolved to explore socio-political themes. A co-founder of the Arab Society for Fine Arts, to which he was elected chairman, with the Society, Tahseen participated in exhibitions organised by the National Museum in Damascus. In 1962, he moved to Egypt, and remained there until 1983, continuing his artistic career by painting themes connected with Egyptian and Arab historical events and daily life. 

The Syrian government awarded him the Syrian Order of Merit in 1983, and the Ministry of Culture acquired a number of his paintings. A prolific artist, Tahseen is credited with completing over 2,000 drawings, paintings and sketches during his lifetime.