Halim Jurdak (1927)

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Born in 1927 in Ain El Sindianeh, North Lebanon, Halim Jurdak began his artistic training at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Art in 1953. He is the first Lebanese artist to work in the medium of etching and engraving on an equal footing with painting and drawing. His work has won many prizes, including the first prize for Engraving at the Annual Exhibition of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. He has participated in numerous international and regional exhibitions and began teaching at the Institute of Fine Arts of the Lebanese University in Beirut in 1966.

Jurdak has written numerous artistic and literary articles and has published several books, including The Metamorphosis of Line and Color (dealing with the psychic and mental motives underlying contemporary and modern plastic-artistic movements), and The Eye of Contentment (consisting of contemplations and meditations on art).

Jurdak’s style has developed gradually from academic realism to cubism, to figurative abstraction, to non-figurative abstraction, and then to free non-objective forms, patterns and compositions born from the qualities of pure abstract disengaged colors and lines. In his later work, Jurdak focuses on the human figure, capturing its warmth, elasticity, harmonies and cadences, believing it the probity of the artist.

Describing his method of work, Jurdak said: “There is no more a palette from which the colors are carried to the pictorial surface, because the pictorial surface itself has become the palette. The visual concept, or reality, does not go from my head to the pictorial surface, but is generated through the meeting of the two midway.”

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