Born in 1925 in Jerusalem to Armenian parents, survivors of the Armenian Genocide, Paul Guiragossian experienced the consequences of exile from a very tender age. Raised in boarding schools, Paul grew up away from his mother who had to work to make sure her two sons got an education.
As a child Paul remembers looking out from the window watching children flying their kites and they would always ask him to draw theirs for them because he did the most beautiful and colorful designs. It’s then that he realized he had a talent that others didn’t and his love for art became an indispensable need.
In the early 1940’s Paul and his family moved to Jaffa where he attended Studio Yarkon to start improving his passion of painting. In the late 1947 they moved and settled in Lebanon and in 1952 he married Juliette Hindian a young painter who first was his student. Together they had 6 children Silva, Emmanuel, Araxie, Jean-Paul, Ara and Manuella. Their son Ara was died soon after from an illness and Paul painted several paintings as a tribute to him.
In 1956 he won the first prize in a painting competition, which landed him a scholarship by the Italian government to study at the Academia di Belle Arti di Firenze (The Academy of Fine Arts of Florence). While in Florence Paul had multiple exhibitions starting with a solo show in 1958 at the Galeria D’Arte Moderna “La Permanente”.
By the mid 60’s Guiragossian grew to become one of the most celebrated artists in Lebanon and eventually of the Arab world and even though war broke out in the early 70’s his attachment to Lebanon grew bigger and his works became more colorful with messages of hope for his people.
In 1989 Paul went to Paris to exhibit his works in La Salle Des Pas Perdus in UNESCO and ended up residing in the city with part of his family until 1991. Between 1989 and 1991, Paul painted some of his largest masterpieces and at the end of that year he had a solo exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe which extended until early 1992.
Paul passed away in 1993 on the 20th of November in Beirut, after finalizing a magnificent oil painting about which he revealed to his family to be his best work yet.
" I finally accomplished what I always hoped for, bringing the old and the new in one painting."
This painting remains unsigned in the Guiragossian Family Collection.