Born 1914, Baghdad, Iraq; died 1991, Baghdad
Hafidh al-Droubi was one of the first Iraqi artists to study abroad, commencing his artistic training at the Accademia Reale in Rome (he returned to Iraq in 1936). He then went on to study at London's Goldsmiths College in 1950. In Baghdad, al-Droubi was regarded as a leading figure in the contemporary arts scene; in 1942, he established the first freelance atelier and was a founding member of the Impressionist Group. The group’s formation was largely due to his interest in advancing the country’s arts education curriculum as his selection of group members was not based on artists’ stylistic interests but on the idea of creating a collective educational approach to art-making. He was chair of the Society of Iraqi Plastic Arts and dean of the Academy of Fine Arts, Baghdad, for six years. Al-Droubi is not only known for his art – which displays his early interest in academic painting, the influence of Polish Impressionism, Cubism and to an extent Futurism – but for the integral role he played in the development of arts education in Iraq. He held solo exhibitions in 1941, 1951 and 1972, and participated in the Impressionists Group’s exhibitions as well as the contemporary Iraqi exhibition held in Beirut in 1965. He was also one of four artists decorated by the state at the 1972 Al-Wasiti Festival. His work is held in public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; and Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman.