Mahmoud Mukhtar (1891 - 1934) is considered the father of modern Egyptian sculpture. His short life, just 43 years, belies the tremendous impact he has had on Egypt’s nationalist artistic style and the contemporary sculpture of today.
Born in the Delta, Mukhtar later moved to Cairo where he joined the School of Fine Arts, which had just been newly founded by Prince Youssef Kamal in 1908. In 1911, he was granted a scholarship to study art in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. In Paris, he befriended members of the Wafd Party and was thus prompted to create the prototype of his famous statue, “Egypt’s Renaissance,” which was initially unveiled in Ramses Square in 1928, but now stands opposite the Cairo University Bridge. Winning many honors and awards in Paris and Cairo, Mukhtar also became famous for his two monumental statues of Saad Zaghloul (one in Alexandria, the other in Cairo). Some of his other famous sculptures include “The Secret Keeper,” “Isis,” “The Nile’s Bride” and the “Khamaseen.”
The Museum, along with Mukhtar’s mausoleum where he is buried, were designed by architect Ramses Wissa Wassef, and finally came to fruition in 1962. Renovations to the museum in 2003 solidified the splendor of Mukhtar’s magnificent work.