Aly Ben Salem

Danse mystique


Gouache on paper


75 x 55 cm

Bio of the artist

Aly BEN SALEM (Tunis - Tunisia, 1910 ; Stockholm - Swden, 2001). 

World renown artist, one of the most important painters and visual artists of his time. After completing his studies at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Tunis, he went to Sweden where he spent much of his life before settling in Tunisia in 1970. Indeed, he worked during the 40s and 50s in Stockholm. His studio located in the Swedish capital, was a meeting place for Tunisian artists and politicians. Thanks to his works, Aly Ben Salem was able to disseminate Tunisian art throughout Sweden, and receive many prestigious awards throughout his long career. He was indeed the winner of the first prize of painting of the Tunisian government in 1936, as well as the first prize of the miniature of North Africa.

This Tunisian - Swedish artist was also designated as the representative of Tunisia at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, where he exhibited his work at the Galerie de l'Union Latine, quai des Grands-Augustins. He was also among the pioneers of the artistic movement «L'école de Tunis».

An artistic universe at the crossroads of Tunisian and Scandinavian culture. Through his works, Aly Ben Salem valued the aspects of Tunisian heritage while opening up to global art forms. This artist was distinguished by a creative style quite impressive reflecting his passion for art, his great technical mastery and his rich experience between his native country and Sweden. Indeed, his artistic universe crosses the Mediterranean to be impregnated with the Tunisian and Scandinavian cultures at the same time, reflecting an optimistic colored world, marked by the curved lines, simple, and sensual and representing the various aspects of the social life, in particular the female portrait. His works, often influenced by the art of miniature, were dominated for a good period of time, by the shade of blue.

Among the many works of this prolific artist: «Jeune couple au milieu des fleurs» (1930), «Les fiancés» (1956), «Jeune couple et musicien», «Jeunes femmes » and «Les amoureux».

Since his death in 2001, several exhibitions, festivals and other events have been organized in his honor. In 2010 for example, the Tunisian Post issued a postage stamp in his effigy. More recently, in 2017, a major exhibition was held at the Saladin Gallery entitled «Sidi Ben Salem: From Stockholm to Sidi Bou Said», tracing the important artistic legacy of this great painter.

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