Born in 1925 in Beirut, Lebanon. Died in 2021.


Etel Adnan was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1925. In 1949, she moved to Paris to study philosophy at the Université de Paris–Sorbonne and went on to pursue post-graduate studies in philosophy at UC Berkeley and Harvard from 1955 to 1958. She then taught philosophy at Dominican College of San Rafael, California until 1972 when she returned to Beirut. She took up the post of cultural editor at two daily francophone newspapers, al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour, where she first publicly articulated her aesthetic and political concerns. She began exhibiting her paintings and leporellos in Beirut at Dar el-Fan (1973), Modulart (1975) and Alec Manoukian Art Center (1975) before fleeing Lebanon in 1976 amid civil war. Adnan’s work has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. It has been featured in Documenta 13, Kassel (2012), the Whitney Biennial, New York (2014), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha (2014), the 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015), SFMOMA (2018) and Guggenheim New York (2021). Her work is held in public and private collections worldwide. A biography of the artist by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie was published in 2018.