(1962 – 2012), Eritrea

Ficre Ghebreyesus Biography

Ficre Ghebreyesus populates his works with intricate, highly personal experiences as a citizen of the world. Born in Eritrea during their War of Independence (1961–1991), he left as a teenage refugee to Sudan, Italy, and Germany, before finally settling in the United States where he studied at Yale School of Art. Ghebreyesus continued his lifelong activism for Eritrean independence alongside studying painting, printmaking, several languages, and working as the executive chef and co-owner of New Haven's Caffé Adulis.

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Operating fluidly between abstraction and figuration, Ghebreyesus' matte acrylic and oil paintings suggest the non-linear form of dreams, memories, and storytelling. Momentarily recognisable figures dissolve into colourful patterns: a school of fish becomes human bodies in transit or a boat emerges from brightly hued woven shapes echoing Eritrean textiles. His rebuke of borders and divisions seem to be distilled from his own optimistic embrace of an identity and home perpetually in flux.

While Ghebreyesus turned down most opportunities to show during his short lifetime, recent posthumous exhibitions of his work include Ficre Ghebreyesus: City with a River Running Through at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, California and POLYCHROMASIA: Selected Paintings by Ficre Ghebreyesus at Artspace, New Haven, Connecticut. Writer and poet Elizabeth Alexander's memoire, The Light of the World (2015), chronicles her husband Ghebreyesus' life and work. Galerie Lelong began representing the Estate in 2019.

Ficre Ghebreyesus was born in Asmara, Eritrea, in 1962, and died in New Haven, Connecticut, in 2012.

Text courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co. New York.

Ficre Ghebreyesus
featured artworks

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Untitled by Ficre Ghebreyesus contemporary artwork painting
Ficre Ghebreyesus Untitled, c. 2000–2002 Acrylic on canvas
142.2 x 142.2 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Request Price & Availability
Seascape by Ficre Ghebreyesus contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Ficre Ghebreyesus Seascape, 1996-2000 Oil on canvas
22.9 x 30.5 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Ficre Ghebreyesus contemporary artwork painting
Ficre Ghebreyesus Untitled, c. 2002–2007 Acrylic on canvas
40.6 x 50.8 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Ficre Ghebreyesus contemporary artwork painting
Ficre Ghebreyesus Untitled, c. 2011 Acrylic on canvas
91.4 x 61 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Request Price & Availability
Road by Ficre Ghebreyesus contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ficre Ghebreyesus Road, c. 1990s Pastel on paper
35.6 x 43.2 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Ficre Ghebreyesus contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Ficre Ghebreyesus Untitled, c. 1991–1995 Oil on canvas
36.8 x 36.8 x 4.4 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Request Price & Availability
Benny Harris II by Ficre Ghebreyesus contemporary artwork works on paper, drawing
Ficre Ghebreyesus Benny Harris II, c. 1990s Pastel on paper
49.5 x 64.8 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Ficre Ghebreyesus contemporary artwork painting
Ficre Ghebreyesus Untitled, c. 1995 Acrylic on canvas
121.9 x 91.4 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Request Price & Availability
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Ficre Ghebreyesus
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