Drawing by Josef Kalleya donated to the Malta Society of Arts


The family of Josef Kalleya (1898-1998) recently donated a framed drawing by the artist and sculptor to the Malta Society of Arts (MSA). Kalleya was an important figure in the local visual arts sphere in the early 20th century and is now an integral part of Malta’s art history thanks to his modernist ideas and approach.

Kalleya was born in Valletta, Malta in 1898 and lived an incredible 100 years. He began his artistic apprenticeship during his teenage years, studying with masters such as Arturo Galdes, Giuseppe Calì, Lazzaro Pisani and Robert Caruana Dingli.

Professor Joseph P. Cassar (left) and MSA Director Joe Scerri.

In the early 1930s, Kalleya continued her art studies at the Società di Belle Arti, in Rome, Italy. It was there that he met the young Elsa Ornaro, and they were soon married. On his return to Malta, Kalleya brought with him a revolutionary energy and through his abstract, philosophical and phantasmagorical works he left an indelible mark on the course of Malta’s art history.

The family entrusted Professor Joseph P. Cassar with making the donation on their behalf at the headquarters of the Malta Society of Arts, the Palazzo de La Salle in Valletta.

The untitled drawing is a mixed media on paper, signed and dated 1975, and measures 50cm x 40cm. The design will join the Malta Society of Arts’ growing collection of works of art by some of the most influential artists and sculptors from the Maltese Islands, such as Anton Inglott, Emvin Cremona, Harry Alden and Gianni Vella, among others. The MSA thanks the Kalleya family for this donation.

For more information on the Malta Society of Arts and its activities, visit www.artsmalta.org Where www.facebook.com/maltasocietyofarts.

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