Hafidh Al Droubi

(1914 - 1991) Born in 1914 in Baghdad, Al-Droubi was a painter who possessed a talent for capturing the beauty of everyday life through a sophisticated manipulation of form and color. He is considered as one of the pioneers of Iraqi modern art as he made several early contributions to its development. Al-Droubi began his formal education in the arts at the Accademia Reale in Rome, becoming one of the first Iraqi artists to study abroad. He would later earn a degree from Goldsmiths College in London in 1950. After his studies in Rome, he returned to Iraq and became an active participant in the burgeoning art scene. During the formative years between studying in Rome and London, Al-Droubi took several steps to professionalize art practice in Iraq. In 1941, he established Iraq's first free artist studio, which gave aspiring artists a space to learn and practice art-making. In the subsequent decade, Al-Droubi opened similar artist studios at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Baghdad University, where he could supervise and encourage emerging talent. Many other studios like these opened around Baghdad, each headed by established artist. Al-Droubi's work can be appreciated today in many settings around the world, including museums, government buildings, and universities; foremost among these sites is Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Art in Amman, Jordan. His works were also held at the Iraqi Museum of Modern Art in Baghdad. Many of these were looted from the museum's collection and have yet to be recovered. He passed away in 1991.