While Abboud moved away from figuration, and towards the Parisian taste for abstraction, his work always carried a narrative edge. Hinted with an interplay of the light and colour. Studying with prominent Parisian artists of the time, the likes of André Lhote and Fernand Léger amongst others; Abboud bridged the raw natural beauty and light of Lebanon with the eclectic and dynamic palettes of his Parisian contemporaries. Bold sweeping colour blocks of warm turquoise, orange, plummy purples and intense lime green juxtapose with distinct clouds of mellow olive, icy blue and stony greys. Celebrated Lebanese art critic, Joseph Tarrab noted in the Beirut newspaper L’Orient-le Jour interview in 1994 on Shafic Abboud: “his painting is…celebrative and vestigial, the story like the form, vanished within colour that fuses with colour, or coagulates in polychrome remains of being and things.”
He inherited from his grandmother, the village story-teller, an innate talent to transform stories into a striking visual language through a rough impasto on the canvas. The present painting was completed in 1980, the year before Abboud’s long awaited return to Lebanon. The artist’s personal affinity with Eclats (translating roughly as ‘Fragments’) or a disjointed sense of self and confidence allude both in name and composition to an artistic identity crisis. Self-doubt and distance from a beloved hometown are tempered with excitement, innovation, hope and affectionate childhood memories of the majestic Lebanese landscapes.
Shafic Abboud is considered as the long-standing forefather of Lebanese contemporary art, paving the way for the next generations and leaving a legacy which embodied a visionary approach to light, colour and human complexity.
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