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The 16-Year-Old Algerian Artist Who Influenced Picasso and Matisse

In the 1940s, a 16-year-old girl captured the minds of the art world’s elite. The self-taught Algerian artist, Baya Mahieddine (1931-1988) — known…

  • Jane Drinkard
  • TheCUT

Baya used gouache as her primary medium, depicting a world without men but full of bright images of women, nature, and animals.

The bold patterns in her work are attention-grabbing, but her life story is even more so.

Baya was born Fatma Haddad, in Bordj el-Kiffan, a beachy suburb of the city of Algiers, at the North-Western tip of Africa.

Orphaned by age 5, she was adopted as a teenager by Marguerite Camina Benhoura, a…

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