Paul Guiragossian


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Status, price and estimation of the artist Paul Guiragossian

Price of a drawing and watercolour: 1,000 – 15,000 €

Price of a painting: 4,000 – 150,000 €

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A life marked by exile

Paul Guiragossian was born in Jerusalem in 1926 to Armenian parents who survived the genocide. From the age of four to seven, he was raised by the sisters of the Order of the Daughters of Saint Vincent de Paul.

As a child, he used his drawing skills to help support the household. When he is not creating, he devours the monographs of great Western painters and creates a flourishing artistic culture: Titian, Durer, and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as Van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse occupy his readings. However, his interest soon turned to the ancient East. He claims influences such as the Egypt of the pharaohs, Sumer, or Arabic calligraphy. Polyglot (he masters eight languages), Guiragossian has however difficulties to really express himself in each of them. Painting will be his language.

In 1947, Guiragossian experienced exile again, when he was forced to leave Palestine for Lebanon. In 1955, he participated for the first time in the Salon d’Automne, where he exhibited a monumental painting, Noces. At the 1957 Salon, he won the Florence Prize, allowing him to spend a year in Italy, where he studied at the Florence Academy of Fine Arts.

A journey between tradition and universality

Throughout his career, Guiragossian sought a symbiosis between pictorial modernity and his original culture. For him, it is a question of translating the interiority of humanity in its essence, beyond any place or period. Thus, his palette is as warm as his gesture is graphic. Nourished by classical painting, educated by Catholics, Paul Guiragossian paints maternal figures whose silhouette, with a simple stroke, reminds the child of the virgins.

His favourite subjects are family and finding a home. Her paintings question her own experience of expatriation and poverty, while seeking to represent universal issues. Fascinated by the human form, he will never cease to represent it, even when his formal research leads him towards the most stripped-down abstraction.

The prolific production of Guiragossian is mainly in painting and drawing. He also creates some theatre sets. In 1975, he lost his leg in a tragic accident. The same year, civil war broke out in Lebanon. If he does not stop painting, some of his previously warm and protective figures will then be tinged with darkness.

An international celebration

Paul Guiragossian will exhibit many times, in Lebanon, as well as in France and the United States. His first solo exhibition took place at the Alecco Saab Gallery in Beirut in 1960. In 1970, he exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. The Arab World Institute dedicated a retrospective to him from December 1991 to February 1992. In May 2019, his painting Passengers was sold at auction for 42,219 €. For comparison in 2017, the work Mother and Child, of the same size, sold for 56,124 €.

Paul Guiragossian died in Beirut in 1993. He is considered by many critics as the greatest Lebanese painter, whose paintings are estimated to be worth several thousand euros.

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