|Biographical detail : ||Pakistani artist
A self-taught painter-cum-sculptor Ismail Gulgee started painting since his days of studying engineering in two of the most prestigious American universities, first at Columbia and then in Harvard.
Starting his career as portraitist Gulgee impressed King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan. The king commissioned him to paint or sketch portraits of his friends and family members. Gulgee’s best work was the portrait of the late Aga Khan, which he did in lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone.
In the 1960s, Gulgee painted portraits of Prince Karim Aga Khan, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, Queen Farah Diba of Iran and president Ayub Khan, to name a few. Later he did his works on marble and semi-precious stone.
His visited the Middle Eastern countries, particularly Iran, with President Ayub Khan. Gulgee got to study the Islamic art in greater detail and what developed his undying passion for calligraphy.
Ismail Gulgee was born Abdul Muhammad Ismail at Peshawar. He and his wife, Zorro, whom he called “a pillar of inexhaustible strength”, were found murdered in his Clifton residence at Karachi. He left behind a museum of his works at Clifton, which was opened in 2001.