Lot 8, Juliana Seraphim - Untitled - Shades vs Shapes - Paintings and Sculptures from the MENA - Auctions



Executed in: 1970

Medium: aquarelle on paper

Size: 50 x 33 cm 

Signed and dated on the front lower left "Juliana Seraphim, 70"; Dedicated to her sister Marina on the front lower left.


Private Collection, Lebanon

This artwork is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity


Beirut, Lebanon

Price realised €4,880

Estimate €4,000 - €6,000


In Juliana Seraphim’s work, there is always more than what meets the eye. The artist masters her visual language by subtly illuminating complexity lying below the surface. Untitled (1970)’s translucent, flowing layers overlap and allow us to peer into the artist’s world emerging from deep within. Her improvisational, dream-like images are imbued with ethereality. 

“The images in my paintings come from deep within me: they are surreal and unexplainable. Consciously I want to portray a woman's world and how important love is to a woman. Few men understand the quality of love that a woman seeks. I try to show them.” (Juliana Seraphim quoted in H. Khal, The woman artist in Lebanon, Beirut University College 1987, p. 71.)

Juliana Seraphim (Palestinian-Lebanese, b. 1934 - d. 2005) channeled her experience of exile into a rich corpus of surreal, fantastical paintings that bear both the feminine and the grotesque in equal measure. She fled to Lebanon together with her family during the 1948 Palestinian Catastrophe (Al-Nakba) and was deeply impacted by this episode. Perhaps this is why in 1952 she chose to dedicate her efforts to working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for several years in Beirut. 

She began painting under the mentorship of the Lebanese artist Jean Khalifé, who exhibited her work in his studio. Later, she received formal training at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts. In 1959, she spent a year in Florence, and in 1960, she moved to Madrid to study at the Royal Academy of San Fernando on a scholarship.

Living as a professional artist between Paris and Beirut until she passed away in 2005, Juliana Seraphim leaves behind a rich legacy. Beyond exhibiting widely in Beirut and abroad, she represented Lebanon (having been granted citizenship) in three international biennials: Alexandria (1962), Paris (1963, 1969) and São Paulo (1965). Her work is featured in the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Museum of the City of Viareggio, the Musée du Surréalisme, Paris, the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, the Sursock Museum, Beirut the Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut and the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah.

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