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Paul Guiragossian: Displacing Modernity
Premiering at Art Dubai on March 21, (8 pm), the new monograph, Paul Guiragossian: Displacing Modernity, covers more ground than any publication to date on the life and career of Paul Guiragossian (1926-93). Coinciding with the Lebanese artist’s passing 25th anniversary this year, the book offers a remarkable selection of untapped material. Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath alongside Manuella Guiragossian, president of the Paul Guiragossian Foundation, the monograph features over 600 images of archival material and artworks in full color.
Biography

Born in 1926 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, he and his borther grew up away from their 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 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 1946 they moved and settled in Lebanon and Paul began teaching art in schools and privately. One of his private students was a young talented painter named Juliette Hindian who became his wife in 1952. Together they had 6 children: Silva, Emmanuel, Araxie, Jean-Paul, Ara and Manuella. Their son Ara passed away soon after birth from an illness and Paul painted several paintings as a tribute to him.

In the 50’s Paul started teaching art in several Armenian schools and worked as an illustrator. He later started his own business with his brother Antoine painting cinema banners, posters and drawing illustrations for books. Soon after he was discovered for his art and introduced to his contemporaries after which he began exhibiting his works in Beirut and eventually all over the world.
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”.
 
In 1962, Paul was granted another scholarship this time by the French Government to study and paint in Paris at Les Atelier Des Maîtres De L’Ecole De Paris and by the end of that year he had a solo exhibition at the Galerie Mouffe.
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 resided 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 Arab which extended into early 1992.

Paul passed away in 1993 on the 20th of November in Beirut, after finalizing a magnificent oil painting, 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 later entitled L'Adieu by the Guiragossians remains unsigned and in the Family Collection.