Jibran Khalil Jibran

Jibran Khalil Jibran

Untitled (Rose Sleeves), 1911, oil on canvas. Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia.

Emma Maloof

Emma Maloof

Hostess gown design, featured in a General Electric radio phonograph advertisement. Better Homes and Gardens, Vol. 26 Iss. 1, September 1947. ProQuest.

Marie Azeez El-Khoury

Marie Azeez El-Khoury

Mary Nash Wearing Marie Azeez El-Khoury Jewelry, 1923. Vogue, photographed by Edward Steichen.

Assad T. Ghosn

Assad T. Ghosn

“Untitled Portrait of Three Women.” c. 1940. Courtesy private collection.

In the process of development, however, it (art) must necessarily undergo certain changes in form and technique, even in spirit...The change must, therefore, be in the native expression, as well as in the material for assimilation.

– Ameen Rihani, “The Syrian in American Art,” The Syrian World, November 1930. Khayrallah Center Archive.

Photograph of writer Ameen Rihani in Cairo, Egypt
Portrait of Syrian newspaper owner Naoum Mokarzel by painter Assad Ghosn

Assad Ghosn, Portrait of Naoum Mokarzel, c. 1904-1941.

Courtesy private collection.


Amid the flourishing Arab American cultural life in the early twentieth century, amateur and professional artists, art dealers, critics, and businesses-turned-galleries formed an innovative creative hub that spanned the country.

At the core of this vibrant network was Arab American visual and material culture. Both within and outside the United States, artists’ works were an amalgamation of diasporic experience; a reflection of the many traditions, locations, and styles they engaged with at home (including Arab art) and throughout their journeys. 

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Jibran Khalil Jibran

"I am painting, or I am learning to paint. It will take me a long time to paint as

I want to, but it is beautiful to feel the growth of one’s own vision of things.”

–  Jibran Khalil Jibran writing to Mary Haskell, Oct. 2, 1908

As the pioneer of Arab American art, Jibran Khalil Jibran’s artistic genius was first realized at the early age of twelve by educators and prominent local artists. By 1904, he had his first major exhibit in Boston, displaying his realism-infused sketches and drawings. On July 1, 1908, under the sponsorship of Mary Haskell, Jibran travelled to Paris to study oil painting at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he exhibited his famed painting, The Autumn (1910), at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1910. He exhibited multiple paintings at the Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts later that same year.

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Self-portrait by artist Jibran Khalil Jibran

Jibran Khalil Jibran, Self-Portrait, oil on Masonite, c. 1911. Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia.


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Selections of Jibran's Artworks

Marie Azeez El-Khoury

Marie Azeez El-Khoury, also known as “The Mother of Emeralds,” was an internationally renowned jewelry designer, art collector, member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Board, and freelance writer living and working in Manhattan. Her unique and eye-catching gem designs were widely sought after and were featured in Vogue, The New Yorker, The Christian Science Monitor, Harper’s Bazaar, and other notable magazines. Her pieces were worn by high profile women, including ballet dancer Désirée Lubovska, Portia Grafton, and actresses Alice Brady and Mary Nash.

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Newspaper photograph of jeweler Marie Azeez El-Khoury

Marie Azeez El-Khoury, Daily News, New York, August 21, 1938.


Selections of El-Khoury's Work

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Portrait of painter Assad Ghosn and his wife Sadie Gorayib seated at a table

Assad Ghosn

Early twentieth century portrait artist Assad T. Ghosn journeyed from Greater Syria in 1891 to study oil painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma in Rome, Italy. Upon his emigration to the U.S. in 1904, Ghosn opened a studio in Brooklyn before settling in Richmond, Virginia, specializing in oil paint portraits from both life studies and photographs. Over the course of his career, Ghosn was commissioned by state representatives, corporations, churches, and both prominent and community families on account of his painterly skill in realism and individual identity. He exhibited his many landscape and still-life paintings, portraits, and Oriental genre scenes in Italy, New York City, and at the Corcoran Galleries in Washington, D.C.


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Portrait of Assad Ghosn and his wife, Sadie Gorayib, no date. Courtesy private collection.


Selections of Ghosn's Artworks