Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 120 x 100 cm (unframed)
Signed on the front lower right "MOLAEB".
Private Collection, Lebanon. Acquired by the present owner from Mazen Soueid Collection. Previously acquired directly from the artist.
Jamil Molaeb is a Lebanese artist born in Baissour Lebanon in 1948. A student of Shafic Abboud, Paul Guiragossian and Nadia Saikali, he graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the Institute of Fine Arts of the Lebanese University . Receiving a scholarship from the Algerian government, he continued his training at L’École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, in Algeria, from 1972 to 1973. He then went on to study in the United States, obtaining in 1987 a MA in fine arts from the Pratt Institute in New York and in 1989, a doctorate in Art education from Ohio State University. He returned to Beirut that same year, and became a professor at the Lebanese University and the Lebanese American University in Beirut.
Molaeb’s art is centered around folklore and eastern art philosophies that place more importance on spiritualism in art than on realism. His portraits and figurative artworks are influenced by Coptic Egyptian iconography. Molaeb often depicts folkloric scenes of labor and village communities. His abstract paintings consist of bright color fields and geometric compositions often relaying the essence of a landscape. During a certain period, the artist’s work was influenced by symbolism and ancient Middle Eastern alphabets took center-stage in his paintings. White color always plays a crucial role in his works, representing notions of boundless space and divine light.
Molaeb has had solo exhibitions in Lebanon, Algeria, France, Switzerland and the United States. His work has been showcased in international museums such as the Gropius Bau Museum in Berlin. His paintings were acquired by public and private collections including the World Bank in Washington D.C. and the Institute de Monde Arabe in Paris. In 2015, he built the “Jamil Molaeb Museum” in Baissour, his hometown and still lives in the Chouf region in Lebanon.
This work by Jamil Molaeb is a classic example of his abstract landscapes. The artist’s color palette mainly focused on shades of blue, including streaks of reds and greens placed strategically around the edges of the canvas. These shapes are diametrically opposed, with a slight shift in their axis, which creates the illusion of a circular motion. The different shades of blue organically surround other objects like a body of water, suggesting a seascape. This piece is a beautiful representation of Molaeb’s mastery of colors and the way he expresses spiritual energy in his art.
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