Yvette Achkar

Bio and Article in English

Bio and Article in English:

Yvette Achkar's work has shown an evolution starting from a rough line and ending with a dialogue of colors which stands for the vivid simplicity of artistic expression.

She was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1928 in the Lebanese émigré community. It is in Lebanon, however, that she acquired her first training and pursued her artistic studies at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts from 1947 to 1952. In common with all the other artists trained at this Academy in the late forties and the early fifties, her beginnings are characterized by a clean outline of forms, the use of broken lines, and large square surfaces of color.

Two teachers directly influenced the painters of her generation: The Italian Fernando Manetti, at that time one of the foremost teachers at the Academy, and the French painter settled in Lebanon, Georges Cyr, whose works were a model for the rising generation of Lebanese artists.

It was in Paris, however, on a scholarship from the French government, that Yvette Achkar reached the full stature of her artistic development. She took part in collective exhibitions in Italy, Belgium and Yugoslavia. With perseverance she also participated in the Biennales of Paris, Alexandria, and Sao Paulo.

The sixties were for her a period of conflict. The influences received tied her down to a geometric style, whereas her female sensitivity tended to lead her towards poetry and simplicity. This dichotomy is most apparent in her nudes which gradually shed their broken lines and searched for a greater harmony between the forms and the underlying feelings.

However, it is not enough to master the line to pretend to a real accomplishment. The expressiveness she searches for demands the control of both color and line. To achieve this, she embarked upon experimentation with colors alone. She became completely involved with color and the critics are all agreed that Yvette's work gives the impression of a progression toward self-realization more than a true creative work. Her works have moved away from an emphasis on style to the language of simplicity. She cleans and bares her lines, willingly curbs her use of color and shows greater interest in the atmosphere of the painting than in its outward appearance.

During this period of abstract art, it is almost as if Yvette were directing a huge theatrical production. As on a stage, colors perform on the canvas under her direction and speak according to the dialogues that she has composed. She has identified with her role of stage director to the extent of the disappearance of her own identity. Her colors then perform a tragedy, a comedy, a chorus; in short, a real theatrical production.

From this experiment in depth, Yvette Achkar is now ready to build her world of artistic expression in which a live line is mated to bright colors.

Contemporary art in Lebanon, Edward Lahoud, Dar El Mashreq Editors, Beirut.