It is on a sad occasion that we write our tribute to one of Lebanon’s art icons, Amine El Bacha, who has unfortunately passed away on February 5th.

El Bacha was born in Beirut in 1932, to a family who encouraged music and art. He started painting at the age of 15, to later enroll at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA) to study art, and consequently receive a scholarship from the French Embassy to help him pursue further studies in the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, both being in Paris.

Courtesy of Ramzi & Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation

During his time there (1960-1968), El Bacha immersed himself in experimenting with Abstraction; colours, and the reconstruction of nature in his paintings, where he took in his Parisian surroundings and translated them on his canvas, showing real influence from Pablo Picasso, as well as art from the Orient, landing his paintings in several exhibitions and shows such as the Alexandria Biennial (1962); the Salon des Surindépendants (Paris, 1964); the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in the National Museum of Modern Art (Paris, 1966); and in Gallery Manoug (Beirut, 1967).

By the end of 1968, El Bacha changed up his style, from Abstraction into Expressionism.

Courtesy of CAP Kuwait

In 1976, he flew to Italy and landed a five-year contract with the Educavi Maesta Foundation’s director, where he had collaborated with artists from all over Europe, also winning competitions and landing prizes such as the Love Prize and the Città Eterna Prize, as well as having his mosaic design at San Martino Lignano Church in Milano, snatch the first place.

El Bacha also thrived in Spain, where he was taken aback by the country’s Arabian-influenced culture, found at Alhambra; hence composing, and publishing endless paintings and writings on the magnificent place.

Courtesy of Audi Foundation

Looking back at El Bacha’s legacy, he proved to have excelled in the field as he has organised numerous solo exhibitions in major Arab and European cities, as well as participating in international shows. His work can be found in modern art museums in the Arab world, Italy, France, and Spain. Not to mention the prestigious prizes he has been awarded in his lifetime, such as the Prize of the French Embassy at the Autumn Salon, Beirut (1958), and the Lebanese Ministry of National Education Award (1959), with the addition of many other international awards.

Courtesy of Amine El Bacha Foundation