Shafic Abboud (Lebanese, 1926-2004)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE ANDRAOS COLLECTION
Shafic Abboud (Lebanese, 1926-2004)

Chambre verticale 1 ; Chambre verticale 2 ; Chambre verticale 4

Shafic Abboud (Lebanese, 1926-2004)
Chambre verticale 1 ; Chambre verticale 2 ; Chambre verticale 4
Chambre verticale 1 : signed ‘Abboud’ (lower right); signed, dated, titled and inscribed ’15 05 83 ABBOUD ‘’CHAMBRE VERTICALE I’’ 72x144 cm’ (on the reverse)
Chambre verticale 2 : signed ‘Abboud’ (lower right); signed, dated, titled and inscribed ’04 06 83 ABBOUD 83 LES CHAMBRES VERTICALES (2ème CHAMBRE) techn. MIXTE Acrylique – sable – Tempera – Huile.’ (on the reverse); inscribed ‘144x72’ (on the stretcher)
Chambre verticale 4 : signed ‘Abboud’ (lower right) ; titled ‘4e CHAMBRE VERTICALE’ (lower left); signed, dated, titled and inscribed ’19 06 83 ABBOUD 83 144x72=80 ‘’Quatrieme Chambre Verticale’’ Tempera/Toile’ (on the reverse)
oil, acrylic, tempera and sand on canvas; in three parts
each: 56¾ x 28 3/8 in. (144 x 72cm.)
Executed in May-June 1983
Galerie Faris, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1983.
C. Lemand, Shafic Abboud, Paris 2006 (the three works illustrated in colour pp.152-153).
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Post lot text
This work is sold with a photo-certificate from Christine Abboud, under no. ID220, ID221 & ID222.

Lot Essay

Abboud is one of the founding pillars of Modern Lebanese art. Born in Mhaydse, Lebanon, in 1926, he started by painting figurative works, much inspired by folkloric Lebanese tales and daily life. He later moved towards abstract art, following his move to Paris in 1947, where he studied art with some of the leading artists of the Parisian art scene at the time, such as André Lhote and Fernand Léger amongst others, before enrolling into the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Seeking to depict light and its essence Abboud uses organic shapes and carefully chosen monochrome planes of colour, often meticulously superimposed on top of each other, to cover his canvases with thick impasto and fecks of pigment that are reminiscent of abstract painter Nicolas de Staël's works.

Nonetheless, whilst Abboud's paintings do not depict stories or landscapes, they are not entirely deprived of narrative. He uses hints and extracts the atmosphere of a precise scene in time through light and colours. His titles do not aim to confuse the viewer into Abboud's abstract world, but they indicate what he has represented and bridge his abstract colourful forms with clues drawn from reality, which he subtly inserts onto his canvases, as exemplified by these three elegant and vibrant works from the ‘Chambres verticales’ series, coming from the prestigious Andraos collection, from which the current world record price for the artist, Les années de l’oiseau, originally came from before selling at Christie’s Dubai in October 2016 (price realised: $391,500). As often seen throughout his oeuvre, the present three paintings do not tell the story of an event or adventure, but rather focus on a modest everyday-life snapshot of a ‘chambre’ (‘room’), capturing the experience and sentiments of specific childhood memories. In that way, Abboud shares with the viewer fragments of his ‘private diary’, as referred to by art critic Joseph Tarrab, hence offering a privileged insight into his intimate world of emotions. Working with ‘series’ whether they refer to ‘Saisons’, ‘Cafés engloutis’, ‘Nuits’, ‘Grandes Chambres’ (two of which, Grande Chambre 15 and Grande Chambre 3, were sold by Christie’s Dubai when the Viviane and Robert Debbas Shafic Abboud Collection was offered in October 2014, respectively selling for $387,000 and $293,000) or ‘Chambres Verticales’ as in the present case, enabled Abboud to exhaust the different emotions he had felt by exploring the same theme under different angles. Here, Abboud draws the viewer into the voluptuousness and happiness emanating from these three very different works, imposing by their tall vertical formats and impressive by their rich textures, vibrant contrasting pigments and beautiful lyrical abstraction.

In the 1980s, Abboud realised a wide range of eclectic paintings that fluctuated between large abstract monochromatic fat areas of thick paint and intricate multi-surfaced and multi-colour compositions, of which the present three works are prime examples. Chambre Verticale 1, Chambre Verticale 2 and Chambre Verticale 4 were not conceived as a triptych, they are each individual works yet belong to the same series and Christie’s is proud to offer three of them in a single lot – a third work from this series, Chambre Verticale 3 is currently housed in an eminent private Lebanese collection. Despite their apparent versatility, they all converge towards Abboud's ambiguous abstract reality, as each work features his signature hints taken from real life such as textiles, bed covers, clothes, windows, furniture, and sometimes even suggesting the presence of a figure such as in the predominantly orange panel. Although this lot features three separate works, the orange tones of Chambre Verticale 1 on the left creates a beautiful balance with its complimentary colour of an overpowering purplish blue tone in Chambre Verticale 4 on the right, harmoniously accentuating the more muted pastel colours of Chambre Verticale 2 at the centre. The uniqueness of this work lies in the eclectic technique used, combining sand, tempera, acrylic and oil, but moreover in the multi-textured surface. The latter varies from fat monochrome areas of primary colours such as the pure yellow and blue rectangles in Chambre Verticale 1 and 4, reminiscent of Western abstraction such as that of Nicolas de Staël (1914-1955), to more patterned areas of contrasting fecks of colour mainly in the lower parts of all three works, recalling the works of French Nabis ‘intimistes’ painters Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940) and Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947). This medley of Western influences is entirely re-interpreted by the Lebanese master, who adds his Oriental touch not only through the decorativeness and stylised patterns, but even more so through the blinding Mediterranean light radiating from the carefully thought-out juxtaposition of colours. In a similar way to Henri Matisse’s three famous dance and music panels conceived independently from one another and painted for Russian industrialist Serguei Shuchkin, Abboud’s three Chambres Verticales also celebrate the joy of life. They reflect the sensual pleasure and emotions that the artist intimately shares with the viewer, rendered through colours, patterns, and childhood memories, albeit in a very abstract way, giving more freedom to interpretation and more leeway to imagination.

‘(…) Rather than offering itself, the painting suggests. It charms more than it seduces. And our eye can take its time. It can rest, soothed by the harmonious image, by the delicacy of the combinations laid out without any abruptness and refined within a broad range, by the delicate interlocking of the forms one inside the other, by the material with its light relief that endows it with a sensual skin. And, slowly, the eye becomes aware of what this painting is going through. For it shivers under our gaze, this painting that appears still caught up in the rhythm of a slow germination, inviting us to daydream, denying any form of haste’.
(Gilles Plazy,Shafic Abboud’, in Cimaise, Paris, July 1983; quoted in C.Lemand, Shafic Abboud, Paris 2006, p. 351).

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