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Shafic Abboud (Lebanese, 1926-2004)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE FRENCH COLLECTOR
Shafic Abboud (Lebanese, 1926-2004)

La veste chinoise

Shafic Abboud (Lebanese, 1926-2004)
La veste chinoise
signed 'Abboud' (lower right); signed, titled and dated ‘Janvier-février 1980 ABBOUD “la veste chinoise”' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
64 x 383/8. in. (162.5 x 97.5cm.)
Painted in January-February 1980
Galerie Brigitte Shéhadé, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner's parents, thence by descent.
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. ID2731.
Sale room notice
Please note that this lot has been imported from outside the EU for Sale and placed under the temporary admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price.

Lot Essay

Acclaimed as ‘one of the few Arab artists to have achieved international recognition’, Shafc Abboud is undoubtedly an icon for art in the Levant. Originally from the village of Mhaidseh in Mount Lebanon, he studied at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts and then, worked alongside renowned French painters Fernand Léger (1881-1955) and Jean Metzinger (1883- 1956) when he reached Paris in 1947. Although he joined the circle of Abstract artists in Paris, he rapidly shaped his own personal style in his oeuvre that transcribes a lyrical celebration of life, joy and colours.

In the 1970s, the artist explored a wide array of materials such as mixed terracotta, incorporating strings and sand to his paintings, and experimenting with tapestry. These various experiments led him to endow his composition with rich textures of which La Veste Chinoise painted in 1980 is an outstanding example. Placed in a plain background, the sumptuous ‘veste chinoise’ or Chinese shirt/jacket unveils a multitude of vibrant colours which illuminate and animate the canvas hinting to the traditional elaborately embroidered Chinese costumes. Abboud seems to transform his canvas into material, as the intricate intertwinement of pigments and shapes look like they have been literally embroidered by the artist onto his support. The samples of complex geometric forms appear to be sewn together heightened by the yellow and white’s brightness that emphasise the jacket’s material texture and its heavy weight, probably embroidered with metallic threads and set with precious stones.

This rich ornamentation of the painted surface recalls Gustav Klimt’s Symbolist paintings renowned for his mural decorations and his characters’ colourful patterned clothes. The splendour of mosaics from Byzantine art undoubtedly also inspired the painter, after all he claimed himself that ‘I am Byzantine’. The medley of translucent colours, the careful juxtaposition of which emanates a transcendental light from the canvas, replicate the shiny texture of the Chinese jacket’s embroidered silk. The curved lines create a flowing movement almost giving the impression that the piece of clothing is alive as it adopts an intriguing and almost human position. The shoulders appear frontal, whereas the chest leans forward and a silhouette forms itself as if it is walking toward the right side of the painting. As the inanimate object becomes a lively portrait, the artist invites the viewer on an exotic and imaginary journey and into an abstract reality. One of his close friends and patrons claimed that ‘After Matisse, it was he [Abboud] who rediscovered the colours of Oriental painting (…) the immense sensuality of Orient’. There is no doubt that La Veste Chinoise incarnates this statement through its technique, palette and the emotions it triggers but it also demonstrates Abboud’s versatile talent in perfectly combining Eastern heritage and Western modern culture.

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