Shafic Abboud (1926-2004)
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Shafic Abboud was born in Mhaidseh, Lebanon in 1926. He studied
fine arts in Lebanon and in France, where he eventually settled
in 1947. His work has been on exhibit since the 1950s and is
still shown today in Lebanon and throughout Europe. He has
received several prestigious awards, and some of his work was
bought by the French State in the 1990s. He is one of the rare
Lebanese artists who acquired international recognition and
whose work has contributed to the modernization of the School of
Art in Paris.
Abboud’s painting is sometimes perceived as Naturalist Abstract
because of his colorful and warm compositions. He once wrote in
a letter that he wants to tell stories through his form of
narrative painting. Abboud, however, does not so much tell
stories as he does allow himself to be heard. His does not
depict extraordinary adventures or fairy tales, but events of
his daily life. In ‘Saint Baleche,’ for example, he takes
pleasure in conveying how he felt while visiting the area.
Abboud is, above all, a colorist. He knows how to make his
colors reach their maximum potential on a large scale, but is
also able to bring them to vibrant life on a tiny piece of
paper. Like Renoir, Vuillard, and Bonnard, Abboud paints as if
he is an eye – he sees color and decomposes it to light, so that
each canvas is dressed in illumination.
One day before his death in 2004, he sent a telegram to an old
friend stating: ‘Painting Still Possible,’ signed Shafic Abboud.
It was a categorical and reassuring claim that he kept
throughout all his years of work. What can be said of Abboud is
that not only did he stay loyal to painting, but he also
confirmed the stability of its power and its limitless