Qatar Museums (QM) highlighted the works of Lebanese painter, sculptor and fashion designer Huguette Caland (1931–2019) in an exhibition that opened yesterday at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art to mark her first death anniversary.
Titled, “Faces and Places” and curated by Mohamed Rashid al-Thani (curator) and Noora Abdulmajid (assistant curator), the exhibition showcasing six decades of the artist’s paintings, drawings, caftans, smocks and sculptures will run until November 30.
QM noted that “Faces and Places” is Caland’s largest museum exhibition to date, exploring a journey that spans three continents. It encompasses “the faces and places that inform her rich oeuvre without losing sight of the predominant theme in her work, the line.”
Born in Beirut in 1931, Caland was the daughter of the first president of the Republic of Lebanon, according to QM. At 16, she studied painting under the private tutelage of Fernando Manetti, an Italian artist who lived in Lebanon.
“The concept of independence was critical for Caland, where at the age of 34, she rejected western fashions embraced by the society for abayas (caftans). These became an important aspect of her artistic career,” QM said.
Defying social expectations, the artist travelled to Paris, France in the 1970s after her father’s death in 1964 and took Fine Arts at the American University of Beirut to pursue her passion.
During her stay in Paris, Caland developed a series of abstract works titled, Bribes de Corps, exposing the different shapes and forms of the human body. She also collaborated with several renowned poets and artists such as Adonis, Georges Apostu and Pierre Cardin.
Caland moved to Venice, California in 1987 after spending 17 years in Paris. While setting up her dream studio, she shifted from abstract representations of the body to more detail-oriented paintings, which evoked cross-stitching techniques.
“Her memories of Beirut and Paris – of family, friends, nostalgic imagery of her childhood, her own children – emerge in her later paintings, but never losing sight of the line,” QM said. “Her work has been the subject of many solo exhibitions and is represented in both museum and private collections.” She died in Beirut on September 23, 2019 at the
age of 88.
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