Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

All you need to know about Alexandria Museum of Fine Arts

Tue 07 Nov 2023 | 03:37 PM
Ahmed Emam

The Alexandria Museum of Fine Arts is located in the Moharam Bek neighborhood of Alexandria, Egypt, and is home to a variety of Egyptian and Middle-Eastern fine art. The museum features a collection of works by Egyptian artists, as well as a selection of works from Baroque, Romanticism, Rococo and Orientalism. Notably, the museum also displays examples of carving, painting and sculpture from Egyptian and European artists.

 The museum's objective is to promote art to the local community and across Egyptian society through exhibitions, museum education for children, and art workshops. The museum also organizes exhibitions for celebrated Egyptian artists and international cultural exchange activities.

The museum was established in 1904 when Alexandria Municipal Authorities received a collection of paintings as a gift from Edward Farid Heim. The collection consisted of 210 pieces by international artists. Heim stipulated the creation of a dedicated building for presenting these artworks; otherwise, he would have taken them back to his homeland of Germany. 

In 1936, French trader Baron de Menasha donated a villa in Alexandria's Moharram Bek area to be used as a library and a gallery for the exhibition of artworks. However, the building was destroyed during World War II, and the municipality had to store the artworks in a different location until another museum could be built.

In 1952, Egyptian architect Foad Abd Elmageed was assigned by the general manager of Alexandria's municipality, Hussein Sobhy, to design the Museum of Fine Arts. The building was constructed in a modernistic style and included several gallery spaces, a library, and a cultural center for holding concerts, seminars, and film screenings. 

The museum was opened in 1954 by the Revolutionary Command Council on a date that coincided with the second celebration of the July Revolution. On July 26, 1955, Egypt's President Gamal Abd El-Nasser opened the initial session of the Mediterranean Countries Biennale, which was founded by the general manager of Alexandria municipality Hussein Sobhy. This biennale is the second oldest of its kind in the world and has been held in the museum ever since.

In January 2013, the museum reopened after renovations that included adding a workshop and artists' hosting building, a Calligraphy Museum, a posterior garden, as well as a hall for temporary art exhibitions named after the Alexandrian artist Hamed Ewes.