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Solidere officially inaugurated the retrospective exhibition for famed Lebanese artist Shafik Abboud. Curated by Nadine Bekdash and Saleh Barakat and originally initiated by Claude Lemand, the exhibition is featuring more than 100 paintings and various sculpture artworks, displayed for the first time in the artist’s home country. Shafik Abboud’s works are deeply influenced by international political and social events. The artist is a key figure in the contemporary art scene, whether in Lebanon or in the Arab World notably in the second half of the 20th century. His thinking is greatly moved by tales and images of the colorful local culture of Mount Lebanon’s villages, while his point of view was widely shaped by the icons and rites of the Byzantine church.
At a later stage of his career, Abboud’s cultural formation was inspired by writings, debates, struggles and higher values characterizing the Arab Renaissance, a movement described as revolutionary and anticlerical. The artist imposes his own artistic style and is recognized by critics as a disciple of the Parisian school of art. Abboud interrupted his studies in architecture in 1946, choosing to enroll at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts. He moved to Paris in 1947 where he frequented the atelier of Andre Lutte in 1949 and developed his style under Fernand Leger in 1951. He then enrolled as a free student (1956-1962) at the “Ecole Nationale Des Beaux Arts” in the French Capital.
Post World War II, Abboud was totally swept by the art life same as many creative minds who came to settle in France from all around the world, looking to be inspired by modern thinking schools established by big French artists who shaped the history of art in the 20th century. Such artists included Pierre Bonnard, Roger Bissiere and Nicolas de Staël. Shafik Abboud remains one of the key icons of the art and culture life in Beirut - the City of light in the Arab World - specifically during the city’s Golden era between the 50’s and 70s. The artist was awarded the “Victor Choquet” Prize (French Minister of Finance) as well as the Sursock Museum Prize in 1964. In addition, his 1994 comeback exhibition in the Lebanese Capital registered a startling success from all perspectives after 17 years of absence from his home country.
Abboud was considered the first Arab artist in Paris to regularly showcase his art. In 1959, he participated in the first Biennale of the “Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain”(FIAC) in the French Capital. Throughout his career, Abboud organized more than 50 solo exhibitions in Lebanon, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and the United States. He also participated in collective showcases (Salons, Biennales, (FIAC) and was a member of the “New Realism Salon” Committee. Claude Lemand held a retrospective for the artist at the Arab World Institute, Paris in 2011.