Paul Guiragossian (1926 – 1993)

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Paul Guiragossian is a Lebanese/Armenian painter born in Jerusalem. He started painting at an early age, and soon became the most celebrated artist in Lebanon. He was greatly influenced by the Armenian Genocide and his forced departure from Palestine to Lebanon, where he started his family. These tragic incidents, along with the poverty and deteriorated social conditions of the slums of Beirut, played a major role in his work. He used scenes from his daily life to convey sensitive yet powerful emotions. His work has been exhibited in over 40 galleries in Lebanon and all over the world.

The following quotes are taken from an interview with Guiragossian in 1970:
        “I used to put much time and thought in my paintings, but now, due to practice, my hand thinks, feels and executes instantly. I work fast, with temperament. Spontaneous actions... It is no longer a premeditation that devises the composition, but the hand that discovers vision through colour, form, rhythm and alone finds the right equilibrium and spontaneous balance. This is why it has to be a heart and mind at the same time…”
        “I never work one painting at a time, but a series of paintings on an idea that has been ripening for weeks. I paint the same composition until the problem is resolved, and my self-satisfaction is achieved… But the spontaneity, speed, and accuracy are the fruits of a patient discipline, the result of a conquest. Every stroke of brush contains my artistic history.”
        “Earlier, when I wanted to paint death, I used horizontal lines. But as my style in painting was developing, I came to understand that death could be expressed with verticals. It is the form of a standing man that suffices in expressing anything.”
        “To express Spring I do not draw gardens and flowers… What counts is the spirit. I can put the sky, the rocks, the snow on the rocks inside the belly of a woman, not like Dali’s way by opening a window, but naturally… Her body becomes a reflection of the universe.”
        “The real abstract painters form a third category of artists, those who do not take man or nature as a reference, but the pure logical constructions, like Vasarely. Abstraction is the mathematical forms, not the colour! Nothing is as figurative and concrete as colour. Those artists don’t do free arbitrary work; they observe laws and limits. From simple figures, they create imitative recurrent constructions. Their reference is the logical nature.”

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