Fatima El-Hajj

Claude Lemand.Gardens of Soul.

Born in 1953, Fatima El-Hajj first grad­u­ated in 1978 from the Institut des Beaux-Arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut, and later from the Academy of Fine Arts in Leningrad. She then com­pleted her studies from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs of Paris in 1983. She was awarded with the Picasso Prize in Madrid in 1985, and has been teaching in Beirut at the Institut des Beaux-Arts ever since. She has been reg­u­larly exhibiting her works since 1986 in Lebanon as well as in other Arab coun­tries where she is well-known, such as Kuwait, UAE, Syria, Bahrain, Morocco and Qatar, but also in Europe, such as in Spain and France.

Fatima El-Hajj’s land­scapes are inspired by the gar­dens and parks of the many cities she enjoyed and observed whilst trav­el­ling across Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco and France. Her palette and her memory pre­serve the live­li­ness of the shapes, colours and light from these places and their inhab­i­tants. More often, her paint­ings are a reflec­tion of her own garden which she had laid out in front of her studio in Rmaileh, sim­ilar to how Claude Monet cre­ated his garden in Giverny and made it the main sub­ject matter for his paint­ings during the last thirty years of his life. Yet Fatima El-Hajj’s garden is much more modest and dif­ferent by nature than that of the Impressionist master.

She end­lessly paints the count­less facets of her inte­rior garden filled with silence and beauty, a woman lost in her reading or con­tem­pla­tion, a couple enrap­tured by the music or small groups of people attending the vil­lage’s or city’s fairs. She likes to sug­gest that her paint­ings are an invi­ta­tion for the viewer to seek for his own inte­rior garden, a par­adise which is within us and brings us serenity, beauty and enchant­ment.

Fatima El-Hajj does not con­ceal her admi­ra­tion for the painters Edouard Vuillard, Henri Matisse, and espe­cially Pierre Bonnard, as well as the Lebanese and Parisian artist Shafic Abboud, who had been her teacher and whom she admired and respected. Fatima El-Hajj is a fol­lower of this school of painting and she is very grateful to all these great mas­ters who helped her find her own path.

Thierry Savatier.
In her painting, there is an absence of con­ces­sion, a seek for an inner world, a har­mony born from con­flicting feel­ings between tran­quility, rebel­lion, dream and doubt. She paints on canvas or on panel, using oil or acrylic paints and her works are often of a large size. As a colourist, she does not neglect the effects of tex­ture. The move­ment, light and shapes sug­gested in her paint­ings, beau­ti­fully merge together, some­times bringing the work on the verge of abstrac­tion. (Blog of Thierry Savatier, Le Monde).

Copyright © Galerie Claude Lemand 2012.

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