Juanita Guccione’s complete Algerian oeuvre has been donated by Sonatrach, the Algerian energy combine, to the Algiers Fine Arts Museum, fulfilling the joint vision of Djelloul Marbrook, the artist’s son, and Idriss Jazairy, former Algerian ambassador to the United States.
Sonatrach acquired the oils, watercolors and drawings in 2004. They were exhibited in The Washington Arts Club with fanfare. Ambassador Jazairy spoke of the artist’s love for Algeria. He explained that, unlike the work of Orientalist painters who depicted the Algerians as exotics, the American artist portrayed the Algerians as her friends and neighbors.
Many of the paintings were first shown in 1935-6 at The Brooklyn Museum. They were never shown again until 1991-2 when the United States Information Agency sent them to Algeria as a goodwill gesture. The Algerians were enthusiastic about the paintings and reluctant to see them return to America. That gave the artist’s son the idea that they should have a permanent home in Algeria. He shared this vision with Idriss Jazairy and the two men collaborated to make it happen.
Of the transfer of the work to the museum, Marbrook said, “They are where they belong and I’m delighted. The Algerian government has bestowed a great gift on its people.”