Renowned Lebanese painter Shafic Abboud has one of the most distinctly recognisable styles that is considered to be a manifesto of light, freedom, colour and happiness revealing not only a true passion for painting, but also a deep sense of attachment to both his birthplace of Lebanon and his home in France. His rigorous abstraction and thick layering of paint have become synonymous to his vast artistic oeuvre. His style, an amalgamation of bright and contrasting colour, dynamic strokes and abstract technique have translated into fascinating visual imagery.
With a painterly oeuvre that explores the depths of abstraction, Abboud's artistic talents were complemented by the serenity of the Parisian landscape. Moving to Paris in 1947 contributed a great deal to the development of the artist’s style, coinciding with a time of great prosperity for the arts in France. Exemplifying the last of the Paris School, alongside artists from countries such as the Middle East, China and India, he had the ability to formulate an artistic methodology which drew inspiration from his new life in France. Abboud’s style changed dramatically throughout his lifetime, driven by the conviction he possessed in his own technique. Beginning first as a figural and landscape painter, the artist would later abandon discernible imagery for more geometric and abstract compositions. Despite eschewing recognisable imagery from his paintings in favour of a technique which gave precedence to an expressionistic style, the artist’s maturity arrived with his abstract canvases.
The decade of the 1970s was an important period for Abboud. Not only was it a time in which he travelled a great deal back to Lebanon in order to teach but significantly the present work from 1975 was painted the year the Lebanese Civil War broke out. As a time of great experimentation, this work is embedded with a sense of spontaneity both through its use of brushstrokes as well as its imagery. Showing a great deal of complexity, the artist uses interwoven shapes and contrasting geometrical forms which he patterns across the canvas. In no particular order or direction, the canvas becomes a myriad of oddly composed forms and bursts of bold colour. Exacerbated by the thick application of paint, the density of these various pockets of great detail become more powerful, complemented by the contrast of large planes of colour. These large, seemingly flat passages of colour exude an organic simplicity and sense of calm against the complexity of Abboud’s patterned forms. Employing a sense of humble spontaneity to his works, the artist truly holds a talent for the art of abstraction. Despite moving to France, it is clear that the artist’s is deeply passionate about his home in Lebanon and the childhood he spent there. This nostalgic tone across his canvases is mirrored by the hues of blue, green, white and orange, reminiscent of Lebanon’s landscape that are painted onto this captivating canvas.