Saâd Hassani

Born in 1948 in Rabat, Morocco

Lives and works in Casablanca 


An intimate of the Ecole de Casablanca artists, Saâd Hassani frequented the art world’s circles of influence as a very young man, both in Morocco and in Europe. He was offered his first individual exhibition at the age of 18. The young artist visited galleries, discovered the School of Paris, Raw Art, and Abstract Expressionism.


Though he was close to the artists of the Casablanca School, Hassani was different, and he ventured off to discover the world. First Spain, then the rest of Europe, where he travelled for many years.


In 1997, while living in Paris at the Cité des Arts, the artist began research into the world of chess, which he played well. Playing with transparency and erasure, the chess pieces (rook and knight in particular) appear and disappear, from one canvas to another and to the whim of the artist. The passage of time is perceptible in the layers of applied and recovered layers.


In parallel, the artist creates public commissions, often monumental in scale. He sees them as a challenge to be undertaken. Thinking and working the medium for a defined, often exceptional space amuses him, keeping him alert. and amuses him. As such, in 1998 Hassani completed a 220m2 painting for Lisbon’s World Exhibition (Expo ‘98).

Already, at that time, the artist had become a seminal figure of the Moroccan cultural scene; as a painter, an intellectual, and gallerist, a profession he practiced from 1992 to 1994. Literature plays an important role in his work. He has published frequently, actively contributing to the field of art in Morocco.


Throughout his career, Saâd Hassani has developed an imagery that is all his own, based upon the technique of erasure. Strata of colours are added one by one, covering a motif, unmasking another. Thus, successive brush strokes reveal the subject that is tangible, as in Échiquier or Corps singuliers, and often enigmatic in the more abstract works.


Inspired by Abstract Expressionists, the artist never ceases to move away from form. Though the works from the period known as Échiquier are structured, and introduce fields of dynamic forces that anchor the composition, more recent works are attached to colour itself and its vibratory strength.


A more recent body of work, poetically entitled Chants de nuit, marks a new period in the artist’s career. He has undertaken the creation of large-format monochrome pieces whose emotional power bears witness to his dexterity and mastery of colour. Here, all traces of narrative or decoration are gone. The immense canvases, created with natural pigments of blue, rosy beige, white, and ochre, provoke intense emotion. Saâd Hassani paints silence, fleeting dreams, obsessions that dissipate and the passage of time. He paints the beauty of the world and its pain. A horizontal strip marks the centre of each of these large-scale paintings, incorporating the language of affirmed gesture that allows glimpses of vibrating traces of matter, opening onto a new world.


Hassani’s works are present in the most prestigious collections in Morocco.