Droubi, Hafidh al- (1914–1991) By Floyd, Tiffany Renee
Considered an important figure in the development of art education in Iraq, Hafidh al-Droubi held important posts during his career including the Deanship of the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad and the Chair of the Society of Iraqi Plastic Art, he was also a prolific painter who experimented with various modes of representation. As a leading artist of the pioneer generation, Al-Droubi was one of the first Iraqi artists to study art abroad, first at the Accademia Reale in Rome and then at Goldsmiths College in London. He also instituted Iraq’s first free art studio, which gave young artists a space to practice and interact, an idea that eventually grew into a network of successful ateliers.
Al-Droubi was a founding member of Iraq’s first official art group, the Society of the Friends of Art, established in 1941. The painter also founded his own artist collective, the Impressionists, in 1953, which better served his own pedagogical concerns. Largely made up of Al-Droubi’s students, the Impressionists worked toward a shared attitude about art education rather than a specific style. Al-Droubi was an active exhibitor, showing works in almost all major shows held by the Society of the Friends of Art and the Impressionists, also participating in international exhibitions both in Europe and around the Arab world. He was honored at the 1972 Al-Wasiti Festival, one of only a few artists to garner special recognition.