Born and schooled in Germany, Martin Giesen studied art history at Heidelberg University. After working for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and completing a PhD, Giesen entered into a career of university teaching. He has taught in Lebanon (AUB 1973-85), Saudi Arabia, Canada, and most recently in the UAE where he was founding dean of the School of Architecture & Design at the American University of Sharjah. For some 30 years, Giesen has produced and exhibited watercolor paintings documenting the impact of development on the human environment. His work has been shown in solo exhibits in Lebanon, Germany, Canada and the UAE. David Tannous of Art in America has called Giesen a “contemporary Orientalist.” John Munro and Samir Sayegh authored monographs, published in 1984 and 1995, on Giesen’s Lebanese watercolors.
For some twenty years Martin Giesen has made the Middle East his home. His art captures the impact of development on human environment. In descriptive watercolors, Giesen pictorially narrates locations of change: reconstruction in downtown Beirut, busy ports of the Gulf, the clash of tradition and modernity in Dubai, and decaying heritage in Cyprus. His work has been shown in solo exhibits in Lebanon, Germany, Canada and the UAE.