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The Life and Formation of Hassan Jouni’s Artistic Career
Hassan Jouni is a Lebanese artist who was born in Zakak Al Blat, Beirut, in 1942. Sketches dating back to the late 1940s reveal the significant artistic talent that Jouni displayed even as a young boy. The tools he turned to were coloured crayons, a gift from a relative, which not only enabled him to hone his talent, but also provided the foundations for Jouni to establish a bold, vibrant palette that would become a hallmark of his work.
As a teenager, Hassan Jouni became acquainted with several leading contemporary Lebanese artists, including Cesar Gemayel, while visiting the Salon du Printemps exhibition at UNESCO Palace, which further inspired him in his chosen field.
Jouni gained a Diploma in Drawing and Painting from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts in 1964. The following year, he moved to Spain, having been awarded a grant to study at the Foster Academy of Fine Arts, Valencia, where he acquired a second Diploma in Drawing and Painting. He remained in Spain and began teaching drawing at the Royal Higher Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando, Madrid, after earning the title of professor in his specialist field.
Hassan Jouni’s time in Spain’s capital city instilled in him not only a passion for learning, but also an appreciation of the aesthetics of the world around him, from nature to the arts, which were key influences. Visits to museums and trips to the opera, together with strolls around the famed Retiro Park, were among his favourite pastimes, while he also became an avid reader of poetry and garnered an interest in philosophy.
Jouni’s Return to Lebanon
Still, while enamoured with Madrid, Hassan Jouni remained passionate about his homeland and made the decision to return to Lebanon, where he founded his own atelier in Ras Beirut, Manara, and began exhibiting his work. His arrival back in Beirut coincided with a point in the country’s history when the art and culture scene was flourishing. However, the civil war abruptly curtailed this period in Lebanon’s history, leaving Jouni to seek solace in his art. Unsurprisingly, Beirut’s Golden Age would become a key focus in his work, with topics explored ranging from street scenes and café life to colourful houses. Painted in oil on canvas, his work is largely figurative and expressionist, depicting everyday folk in conversation or thought, emotions captured and relayed, giving the pieces both intimacy and relatability. The pieces have an aura of nostalgia about them, yet simultaneously feel current and as relevant today as ever.
While working as an artist, Hassan Jouni also taught drawing and painting at the Lebanese University for almost two decades, eventually becoming director of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture there.
Hassan Jouni’s Achivements and Accomplishments
Jouni’s work has been exhibited extensively, featuring in several individual shows and collectives in his native Lebanon and worldwide, including six displays at Galleria Alwan. He has also participated in several landmark biennials, ranging from events in Syria (Ladkieh), where he was the recipient of the Gold Medallion in the Paintings and Drawings section and Kuwait to others in Alexandria (Egypt) and Sao Paolo (Brazil).
Hasan Jouni is a longstanding member of the Lebanese Artists Association. He remains based at his atelier in Manara and continues to paint today.
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