Mahmoud Khalil Museum and the stolen painting!
This museum is considered one of the most interesting and remarkable art museums in Cairo. Together with the modern art museum in the Opera House, the Mahmoud Mukhtar Museum, and the Gezira art center, Mahmoud Khalil Museum is the most notable because of the unique selection of art works that it hosts.
Another reason maybe is of the building itself, the Villa of Mahmoud Khalil which he built his wife built in 1915. The Eastern side of the villa was constructed facing the Nile in Giza. It was built in the "Arnovo" style that is clear in the metal and glass work that decorate this side of the house. The western side of the villa was built in the "new classical style" that gave the villa the chance to have different styles of decorations that synchronize together in an amazing harmony.
A huge colored window dominates the Northern side of the Mahmoud Khalil museum. It displays a wonderful painting that visitors can view from the first and the second floor of the museum. This window was painted by the French artist Lucien Matte in 1907.
The house remained as a residence of Mahmoud Khalil and his family till the year 1960 when the house, due to his request, was transformed into a museum that displays a lot of his art works and many other works of art for many local and international artists.
The museum of Mahmoud Khalil was forgotten by most Egyptians and tourists, except for some paintings fans who come and visit the museum every now and then. Suddenly, the museum attracted huge attention but this time was not because the works of the art that it hosts, it was because the weird and mysterious disappearance or let us say thrift of the famous Poppy flower, a famous painting of van Gogh.
Who was Mahmoud Khalil:
Mahmoud Khalil a great lover of art and he was also a unique collector of all precious and exceptional items. Khalil was a politician as well as he worked as a minster and a member of the Egyptian parliament for a long period of his life.
Khalil was a major sponsor of the youth art and talents as he was the leader of the fine arts lovers association which he participated with Al Amir Yousef Kamal in establishing it in 1924. This is besides his major role in the artistic and culture exchange between Egypt and France and his efforts were crowned with getting the highest French medals and honors.
Mahmoud Khalil was born in Cairo in 1877 and he traveled to France to study law in 1897. He married the French lady, Imeline Hiktor Luis in 1907. Afterwards, he went back to Egypt and built his palace in 1918. He acted as the general commissioner for the Egyptian section in the international art festival held in Paris in 1937.
Khalil became the minster of agriculture in the government of Al Wafd, an opposition party right now. He became the chairman of the Egyptian parliament during the period between 1939 and 1940.
The famous Egyptian artist and politician was fond of France and the French culture and art, maybe that was because of his studies in Paris and perhaps he was also influenced by his French wife, Imiline. This was the reason he participated immensely in organizing a French art and decoration exhibition in Cairo in1938.
Khalil was elected the reporter of the French academy of fine arts in Cairo in 1948 and then he became a member of the academy in 1949. He supervised organizing a décor exhibition with the name " Egypt- France" in Paris in 1949. Mahmoud Khalil died in Paris the 31st of December of 1953.
The museum of Mahmoud Khalil:
The museum of Mahmoud Khalil and his wife are full of rare paintings and art works and it is considered an Egyptian art treasure. The collection of Mahmoud Khalil himself is considered one of the hugest art collections of one of the most important modern art in Egypt and the Middle East.
The ground, first, and second floor is used to display the art works hosted by the museum. While the underground floor is use for administration and it contains a library, an information center, and a discussion hall.
Beside the paintings, there are collections of vases and gems like emerald, works of crystal, and works of lacarmen that were created by Chinese artists. There are a collection of beautiful bronze, marble, and plaster statues. There are also some Pharonic statues that were created by modern Egyptian artists.
The museum hosts a lot of art works that belong to leaders of the impressionism school of art like Dega and his painting " Toulouse-Lautrec" and the works of the French Romantic artist Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix and a lot of the art works of the orient lists like Frumentan, Preshide, and Gabriel Piesy.
There is also a collection of rare vases made out of French "Sefeir" and some other vases created by Chinese, Turkish, and Iranian artists. There is a selection of jewels that the Chinese artists created skillfully and made of emeralds, Krihtemal, and red coral.
There is also a remarkable collection of statues made by famous artists like Auguste Rodin, a famous French sculptor, considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, and his famous statue of the a French novelist and playwright, Honoré de Balzac.
Mahmoud Khalil Museum contains some works of the Bari, the famous animal statues creator, Bari and some classical portraits drawn by Hoden. The beautiful painting of Eugène Delacroix "The bathing nymphs" .
Among the most fabulous collection of art works in the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, there are the paintings and sculptures of the French artists that were dominant in the nineteenth century. This collection includes the works of Huepin, Maries Cannet, henry platour, Gustave Moreau, and the most famous Gogan and Van Gogh.
The most famous paintings in the museum are "The Poppy flower" by Van Gogh, the "wind mills" by Charles Francois, and "The jungle" by hairirty .
The renovation of the Mahmoud Khalil Museum
When a plan was designed to renovate the Mahmoud Khalil Museum and update, infrastructure was the first concern of the government in order to enable visitors to have cultural activities and organize art exhibitions in the museum.
A new building was added to the museum and it was constructed to the right of the entrance of the museum. It includes a cafe and an outlet to sell gifts and replicates of the works of art displayed in the museum. It also has a modern lecture hall and an exhibition hall that is considered the largest and most beautiful in Egypt
The café can serve more than fifty guests at the same time. It provides hot and cold drinks and fast food meals. The walls of the café were constructed to include a lot of glass windows to enable the guests to view the beauty of the garden and the Villa of Mahmoud Khalil.
The exhibition hall, Ofoq, is the biggest and best equipped exhibition hall in Egypt now. It contains the most updated technology of lighting, temperature control, and security facilities.
The famous painting "poppy flower" and its disappearance.
The famous painting of "poppy flower" or the "Vase and flowers" was painted by Van Gogh in 1887, three years before his suicide. It is a medium sized painting 54 X 53 cm. it was painted by oil colors on a piece of cloth and it contains the drawing of yellow and red poppy flowers placed in a beautiful vase. The price of this painting is estimated to be around 55 million dollars.
This famous painting disappeared mysteriously from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum on the 23rd of August 2010. Emergency state was declared in all the Egyptian airports and outlets. The Egyptian minster of culture, Farouq Hosny, announced in a press conference that was held in the same day that the painting was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum.
A lot of Egyptian government officials were captured in jail due to the thrift of the painting including the head of the fine arts section in the Egyptian government, Abdel Kader Shaalan, and a lot of other government members are in the investigations process right now.
What is really weird is that the same plaiting, " The Poppy flower" was stolen from the same museum, Mahmoud Khalil Museum, in 1977. The painting went back to the museum once again in even a more mysterious way when it was found in Kuwait ten years later. A lot of people therefore claim that the painting that was kept in the museum for all this period, from 1987 till 2010, was a mimicked version of the original painting that was sold in England.
| Museum address:
1 Giza Street – Next to Cairo
shertoton - Giza
| Working hours:
From 10 AM till 5 PM
10 pounds for Egyptians.
01 pound for Egyptian students.
25 pounds for No Egyptians.
photography is allowed without the use of the flash and the guest has to have a special camera ticketto use his camera.