National Museum of Women in the Arts
Etel Adnan
February 25 1925 - present
Photograph of Etel Adnan, courtesy of the artist
Place of Birth:
American, Lebanese
Phonetic Spelling:
EH-tehl AD-nehn
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Books and manuscripts, Drawings and prints, Painting, Textiles and clothing
Artistic Role(s):
Book Artist, Landscape Painter, Oil Painter, Painter, Tapestry Designer, Watercolorist
Artist's Statement:
I am a California painter: my first works were abstract paintings but I gradually started to paint the California landscape. As I work in oil and with a palette knife my landscapes are very abstracted and in bright colors.

I am also a tapestry designer. When I started designing tapestries there were few known designers around. Marc Adams, in San Francisco, was a prominent designer. I trained a weaver who was doing small pieces into doing large tapestries. His name was Hal Painter. After that experience he started doing tapestries from his own designs and founded the Association of Tapestry Makers in Tunisia, one in Beirut, and the Galerie Inard in Paris, and with Claire Rado, a weaver and herself a tapestry designer, in Paris. Slides of some of these works were in files at the Contemporary Crafts Museum in New York and the Crafts Museum of Los Angeles.

All along the years since my first exhibition I have been consistently involved in making artists' books using paper, brush, various inks, pastels, pencils and watercolors. Some of these works are at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the World Bank collection in Washington, DC, The British Museum, the Institut de Monde Arabe in Paris, the Greek Cultural Center in Berlin, and in many private collections. I use the Japanese format of folded “books,” made in Japan, and write on them poems, mostly in Arabic, accompanied by paintings in the media just mentioned. I also work with American poetry and, as I am also a poet, with some of my own poems.

Statement courtesy of Etel Adnan

Other Occupation(s):
Place(s) of Residence:
Where Trained/Schools:
Dominion University, San Rafael, CA, USA (1959) Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA (1957-1958) University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA (1955)
Related Visual Artists:
student of Ann O'Hanlon teacher of Hal Painter collaborated with Claire Rado
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Earliest exhibition:
Paintings by Etel Adnan, O'Hanlon Studio, Mill Valley, CA, USA (1960)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Book as Art VIII
Forces of Change: Artists of the Arab World
Book as Art XI
Artist retrospective(s):