Paul Guiragossian (Lebanese, 1926-1993) Chuchotement (Whispers)
Lot 27
Paul Guiragossian
(Lebanese, 1926-1993)
Chuchotement (Whispers)
£60,000 - 80,000
US$ 80,000 - 110,000

Lot Details
Paul Guiragossian (Lebanese, 1926-1993)
Chuchotement (Whispers)
oil on canvas, framed
signed "Paul G" (lower left), executed in 1985
100 x 100cm (39 3/8 x 39 3/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Property from a private collection, London
    Acquired by the above in Jordan, 1985

    Exhibited:
    Amman, Bank Petra, Paul Guiragossian, 1985

    The Paul Guiragossian Foundation, Beirut has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work. We would like to thank The Paul Guiragossian Foundation for their assistance in researching this artwork.


    Achieving recognition in his own lifetime and honoured with a state funeral upon his death, Paul Guiragossian is remembered as one of the most talented and progressive artists to emerge from Lebanon. Guiragossian was born in 1926 in Jerusalem to survivors of the Armenian genocide. Due to exile, Guiragossian's family settled in Beirut, Lebanon in 1947. In 1956, Guiragossian received a scholarship from the Italian Government to study at The Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, which was soon followed by a further scholarship from the French government to attend Les Ateliers des Maîtres de L'Ecole de Paris. By the mid-1960s Guiragossian had grown to become one of the most celebrated artist in the Arab world and in 1989 he became the first artist to have a solo show at the Institut de Monde Arabe in Paris.

    Guiragossian's genius lies in his ability to simultaneously provoke both joy and despair. Although the war broke out in the early 1970s, his attachment for his country grew larger and his works became more colourful with messages of hope for his people. From the mid-1970s onwards, most of Guiragossian's paintings conveyed a sense of solidarity, a collective joy or at times suffering. The female figure was also seen visible throughout Guiragossian's oeuvre; the fascination with the mother being the vital support system through good and bad, the caretaker and the bearer of life plays a central role and a key subject matter in his paintings. His work reflects a reality both deeply personal and universally relatable, as his obsession with the subject matter transcends from his own eternal longing for his own mother.

    This stunning painting is a superlative example of Guiragossian's gestural and expressive painting style as clothed female figures are defined by thick elongated impasto paint. This present work titled Chuchotement or Whispers in English was executed in 1985 during the midst of the Lebanese Civil War, also the same year the Israeli forces withdrew their troops from Lebanon. Later that year, Chuchotement was showcased at Guiragossian's exhibition in Amman at the Petra Bank.

    Unlike most of Guiragossian's other works, here the female figures are dressed in a soft pastel colour palette infusing a sense of happiness, warmth, positivity and hope. The light blue tones against the red and pink tones create a gentle aesthetic and beautiful harmony. The women in this painting are seen draped in what looks like festive garments, each robe has its own pop of colour and distinct pattern, suggesting a celebratory occasion such a religious gathering or wedding ceremony. The proximity of the faceless elongated figures with their arms reaching out to one another seems to suggest the coming together of family and friends and the intimate and eternal bond between them.
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