VINTAGE LEBANESE ARTISTS
Moustafa Farroukh (Arabic: مصطفى فروخ) 1901 – 16 February, 1957) was one of Lebanon’s most prominent painters of the 20th century.
He was formally trained in Rome and graduated in 1927 from Rome’s Royal College of Fine Arts, where he studied under Coromaldi and Calcagnodoro. While in Rome participated in its largest exhibits (Roma Biennale 1926). He proceeded to Paris and continued further studies under the guidance of many French artists, including Paul Émile Chabas, the president of the Society of French Artists.
He exhibited in the famous French exhibition hall known as “the Salon” and was highly valued by leading French Art papers.
Over his career, he exhibited in venues from Paris, Venice, New York City and Beirut.
He travelled through Spain in the early 1930s where his appreciation of Arabic art and architecture influenced a collection of paintings representing the Arab legacy in Spain.
He returned to Beirut in the year 1932 and held several exhibitions including the American University of Beirut and another at the School of Arts & Crafts, all were highly appraised and appreciated for representing true life depictions of the country and its customs.
In the same year, Moustafa Farroukh established a permanent exhibition of his artwork in his studio in Beirut.
To spread the knowledge of Fine Arts in Lebanon he began teaching at the American University of Beirut, Teachers Training school, and started lecturing at the “Cenacle Libanais.” His students included the artist, painter and sculptor Saloua Raouda Choucair.
In 1936, his artwork – a depiction of the Bay of Jounieh – appeared in a series of Lebanese postage stamps. The same images were used on stamps again in 1947.
In 1940 he exhibited his paintings in the International Exhibition in New York. In 1950, as a tribute to his work, Moustafa Farroukh’s name was chosen for listing in Benezit, the world’s renowned collection for bibliographical art reference. He is the founder of a unique revolutionary school of Arts recognized by leaders of the cultural world locally and abroad.
His work was applauded for its representation of real life in Lebanon – the countryside, its people and its customs. Farroukh became highly regarded as a Lebanese national painter at a time when Lebanon was asserting its political independence. His art captured the spirit and character of the Lebanese people and he became recognized as the outstanding Lebanese painter of his generation. Most of his paintings were portraits, landmarks, or scenery from his homeland Lebanon. Along with artists, Omar Onsi (1901-1969), César Gemayel (1898-1958), Saliba Douaihy (1915-1994) and Rachid Wehbi (1917-1993), Farroukh is regarded as a pioneer, having laid the foundations for a modern arts movement in Lebanon.
These artists established an originality and freedom of expression that had never before been seen in Lebanon.
He joined the group of philosophers, thinkers, and men and women of literature who lectured in the renowned “Al Nadwa” gatherings or “Le Cénacle Libanais”.
In 1974, his artwork was once again portrayed on a Lebanese airmail postage stamp, in recognition of his work.
Farroukh received the first prize of the President of the Republic for the year 1955, the Lebanese order of Merit, and the order of the Cedar (Knight and Officer).
During his famed career, Farroukh produced over 2000 paintings most of which were acquired by collectors both in Lebanon and abroad. He also wrote five books including a biography – (Bilad Al Majd Almafkoud), A Study of the Andalusian Art, an autobiography in a form of novel (The Story of a Person from Lebanon) and (Art & Life) which is a collection of lectures and art studies, and (woujouh el Asr) works in Indian ink, and an autobiography “Tariki Ila Alfan”.
Biennale Rome 1926 – Salon de Paris 1930 and 1931 – New York International Exhibition 1939 – Exhibition at the museum folklore Romano 1977 – Barbikan center London 1989 – Institut du monde arabe 1990 – Centre of contemporary art Barcelona April 2005 – Centre of Modern art Valencia September 2005
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