Paul Guiragossian (Lebanese, 1926-1993)
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Paul Guiragossian (Lebanese, 1926-1993)

Untitled

Details
Paul Guiragossian (Lebanese, 1926-1993)
Untitled
signed 'PAUL.G' (lower right)
oil on canvas
23½ x 35 3/8in. (59.6 x 90cm.)
Painted circa mid-1960s
Provenance
Acquired directly from a gallery in Beirut by the present owner's parents in the late 1960s and thence by descent.

The Paul Guiragossian Foundation, Beirut, has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.

We thank the Paul Guiragossian Foundation for their assistance in researching this painting.

Special notice

Lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importation value (low estimate) levied at the time of collection shipment within UAE. For UAE buyers, please note that duty is paid at origin (Dubai) and not in the importing country. As such, duty paid in Dubai is treated as final duty payment. It is the buyer's responsibility to ascertain and pay all taxes due.

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Lot Essay

Christie's is pleased to start this sale with a very early work by the Lebanese Modern artist Paul Guiragossian. This work has remained in the collection of the same family since the 1960s.

This very unusual work is different for many reasons; such as the way the crowd is depicted in a relaxed horizontal frame and the rich choice of a deep warm, autumn palette.

One also observes experimental horizontal disjointed brushstrokes, as opposed to the vertical elongated brushstrokes the artist is famous for. In the upper right quadrant of the composition, a few larger strokes of yellow overlap the red, orange and blue hues of the sky. All this adds to the exceptional quality of the present work.

Guiragossian chose a vibrant exotic palette to cover the robes, heads and faces of the women in his canvas. His women are standing in a row with their elongated bodies, like coloured columns. They are broadly executed using thick strokes and modulations of similar hues and shades, mostly with darker edges of dark blue. The influence of icon painting on the work of the artist has long been remarked upon and the luminous impression given by the present work is almost akin to stained glass. The women are standing together yet the individuality of each is felt strongly, notably for the two central figures whose facial features appear clearly. Such details disappear from Guiragossian's work with time and therefore the present work allows us to appreciate the aesthetic evolution of the artist.

The warm exotic tones, reminiscent of those used by the Fauves artists and the uniform surfaces of colour known as cloisonné found in Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard's paintings seem to have had a profound impact on Guiragossian's style, particularly in his earlier works.

Although Guiragossian's oeuvre is often characterized by vibrant colours, he uses them as a sign of hope and rebellion against the underlying human sadness.
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