Opera Square in the 1940s

h4145-l103686233The painting above (click to enlarge) is of Opera Square from a balcony at the Continental-Savoy. It’s by François Krige (1913–1994), an artist I had never heard of, but a quick Google reveals he was a South African who painted in a ‘Post-Impressionist style which formed early in his career, influenced by his travels and studies in Europe’. He was in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Italy as a wartime artist during the Second World War, which is possibly when this painting dates from. I love the vitality and life about it, and the fact that there across the square, you can make out the terrace of the legendary Madam Badia’s casino.


Filed under Art and artists, Lost Egypt

7 Responses to Opera Square in the 1940s

  1. Dear Andrew,
    I have gifted your book to many people and all have had many hours of reading pleasure. Thank you. I am co-author of a book for AUC Press, Field Guide to the Streets of Cairo. In researching the names, I wonder if you have come across a “Dubreih”. The street ran from the now Sh. Ramsis east to Sh. Emad el Din, today it is Sh. Soliman el Haliby. If you have a clue as to whom Dubreih might be or a clue, I would be most grateful to receive your thoughts. Thank you, Lesley Lababidi

  2. Janne Sterner

    Would like som information about the statue on Opera Square picturing Ibrahim Pasha on a horse.
    Has it always been standing there or somewhere else before it got to the Opera Square?

    • AndrewH

      The person who can answer this question is Lesley Lababidi, who has written a book on the statues of Cairo. I’ve emailed her and hopefully she’ll respond to your post.

      • Hi Janne,
        Thank you Andrew.
        Here is a short history of the statue: Ibrahim Pasha’s equestrian heroic statue was erected in 1874, the first and only statue to stand in Opera Square. Ibrahim Pasha’s son, Ismail Pasha, commissioned the sculpture by the French sculptor, Charles Cordier. On either side of the granite base were two marble bas-relief friezes depicting Ibrahim Pasha defeat of the Ottomans at the battle of Arce and Konya. When the friezes were first placed, Turkish officials demanded their removal. The original marble friezes were lost; however, a century later the sculptor’s grandson, Jules Cordier, found images of the friezes, and two Egyptian sculptors, Usman and Mansour Farag, carved replicas. The bronze friezes of the same scenes were reinstated. A replica of the statue stands at the entrance to the Citadel’s Military Museum. If you wish more information about statues in Cairo see: Cairo Street Stories Exploring the City’s Statues, Squares, Bridges, Gardens, and Sidewalk Cafés (AUC Press 2008).

        Hope this helps,

      • Janne Sterner

        Thank you for your help….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *