About Shafic Abboud
Born in 1926 in Lebanon, Shafic Abboud is one of the foremost Arab artists of the 20th century. His paintings are a manifesto for freedom, colour, light and joy, as well as being a permanent bridge between the art scenes of France and Lebanon. Both Lebanese and Parisian, he was very attached to Lebanon, to its landscapes, its light and his own childhood memories. He was from a Lebanese Arab Modern culture. The artist’s eye was also strongly influenced by Byzantine icons and traditions from his church. The writings, debates, ideals, hopes and battles characterising the Arab Nahda, a modernist and anticlerical Renaissance which was initially driven by Arab and Lebanese writers, were to later have a significant impact on Abboud’s intellectual education.
Shafic Abboud arrived in 1947 in Paris. […] Abboud’s painting gradually moved from the poetic Lebanese figuration towards the lyrical Parisian abstraction, followed by a move from abstraction towards a very subtle and sublime personal “abboudian transfiguration”, which was simultaneously traditional and modern, pagan and sacred. His work is often an invitation to the joy of life, a pagan hedonism yet limited by our frail human condition. However, this does not prevent a tragic element from being present in some of his paintings. These occasionally evoke, in an obvious or subtle way, difficult situations from stages of his life or that of his friends’, the tragic events happening in Lebanon, in the Arab world and in various parts of the World.
Claude Lemand, Shafic Abboud, Catalogue of the retrospective IMA, Paris, 2011.