In ART

When Huguette Caland passed away last September, Lebanon lost one of its most revered living artists. While she had lost her ability to paint in 2013 (after she suffered a fall a few years earlier), Caland boasted the most exemplary career, having painted from an early age until her early 80s. She was best known for her bold, colourful, explicitly erotic canvases – created during conservative times, when Lebanese and other Arabs still frowned upon sexually suggestive imagery. Caland’s paintings and drawings are part of the collections of some of world’s most prestigious institutions, including the British Museum in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Her most recent exhibits include the Made in LA biennial at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 2016, the Venice Biennale in 2017 and the Sharjah Biennial in 2019.

 

1960s

Huguette Caland, Kaslik, 1968. Oil on linen, 102.2 x 102.2 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Kaslik, 1968. Oil on linen, 102.2 x 102.2 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

1931
Birth of Huguette Caland in Beirut,
Lebanon. She was the only daughter
of the first president of the Republic of
Lebanon, Bechara El Khoury.
1947
At the age of 16, she took one year
of painting lessons under the private
tutelage of Fernando Manetti, an Italian
artist who resided in Lebanon.
1960
Caland lost her mother.
1964
She executed a sculpture portrait of her
father and also began the first prototypes
of her embroidered and hand-painted

Huguette Caland, Une ville, 1968. Oil on canvas, 80 x 100 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Une ville, 1968. Oil on canvas, 80 x 100 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

 

Huguette Caland, Red Sun, 1964. Oil on linen, 129.5 x 195.6 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Red Sun, 1964. Oil on linen, 129.5 x 195.6 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

1964
She executed a sculpture portrait of her
father and also began the first prototypes
of her embroidered and hand-painted
gowns. She lost her father that same year.
1964-1968
She studied art at the American University
of Beirut (AUB).

1970s

Huguette Caland, Musique, 1971. Ink on paper, 26.6 x 34.3 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Musique, 1971. Ink on
paper, 26.6 x 34.3 cm. Courtesy of Studio
Huguette Caland.

1970
Caland moved to Paris where she
was able to blossom and meet many
contemporary artists.
1974
Caland had a conversation with
celebrated Lebanese author Hanan al-
Shaykh that was originally produced for
Télé Liban, in which the artist talked about
her conception of herself as an artist at
that time.
1979
Caland developed a collection of caftans
with illustrious French fashion designer
Pierre Cardin.

v

Huguette Caland, Paris,
1970s. Photo by Jacques
Prayer. Courtesy of Studio
Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Untitled, 1972. Ink on paper, 26.7 x 34.8 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Untitled, 1972. Ink on paper, 26.7 x 34.8 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

 

Huguette Caland, Mustafa Acrobate, 1971. Ink on paper, 24.1 x 33.6 cm. Courtesy Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Mustafa Acrobate, 1971. Ink on paper, 24.1 x 33.6 cm. Courtesy Huguette
Caland.

 

Huguette Caland,
Dar Al Fan Exhibition,
Beirut, 1970. Courtesy
Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Bribes de corps, 1973. Oil on linen, 152.4 x 152.4 cm. Ferrell Coll. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.
Huguette Caland, Bribes de corps, 1973. Oil on linen, 152.4 x 152.4 cm. Ferrell Coll. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

1980s

Huguette Caland and Apostu Limousin. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland and Apostu Limousin.
Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

1981-1982
She lived and worked in New York
1982
She returned to Paris, where she began
work with Romanian sculptor George
Apostu on a series of stone, wood and
terracotta sculptures.
1987
Following the death of her partner,
Romanian sculptor George Apostu,
Caland moved to California where she
established the studio of her dreams.

1990s

Huguette Caland, Untitled from Silent Letters series, 1997. Acrylic on linen, 86.4 x 144.8 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Untitled
from Silent Letters series, 1997.
Acrylic on linen,
86.4 x 144.8 cm. Courtesy of
Studio Huguette Caland.

 

Huguette Caland, Ed Moses, 1992. Acrylic on canvas, 60.9 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland

Huguette Caland, Ed Moses,
1992. Acrylic on canvas,
60.9 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy of
Studio Huguette Caland


Huguette Caland, Homage to Pubic Hair, 1992. Mixed media on paper mounted to panel, 25.4 x 25.4 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland,
Homage to Pubic Hair,
1992. Mixed media
on paper mounted to
panel, 25.4 x 25.4 cm.
Courtesy of Studio
Huguette Caland.

2000s

Huguette Caland, Los Angeles, Working on Money Exhibition, 2000. Courtesy Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Los Angeles, Working on Money Exhibition, 2000. Courtesy Huguette
Caland.

2012
Her work was featured in two rooms
(accessible only to people over 18) of Le
Corps Découvert, a show at the Institut
du Monde Arabe in Paris. Her work was
acquired by major museums, institutions
and collectors such as the Bibliothèque
Nationale-Paris, Centre Pompidou,
the Tate, the British Museum, LACMA,
Armand Hammer, the Museum of Fine
Arts Houston, San Diego Museum of Art,
Sharjah Art Foundation and many private
collections in the United States, the
Middle East and Europe.

Huguette Caland, Appleton I, 2009. Mixed media on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Appleton I, 2009. Mixed
media on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9 cm.
Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

2013
Caland travelled to Beirut to visit
her sick husband and she settled in
Lebanon. She had her first retrospective
at Beirut Art Centre.

Huguette Caland, Untitled, 2000. Ink on Japanese paper, 149.8 x 298.4 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland

Huguette Caland, Untitled, 2000. Ink on Japanese paper, 149.8 x 298.4 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland


Huguette Caland, Los Angeles studio, large brush, 2002. Photo ©Veronique Vial. Courtesy Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Los Angeles studio, large brush, 2002. Photo ©Veronique Vial. Courtesy Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

2014
Caland’s work was shown at Frieze Masters
in London.
2015
Her work was featured in Prospect 3 in
New Orleans and the Armory Show in
New York.

Huguette Caland. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

2016
Caland was celebrated at the Hammer
Museum through the exhibition Made in
LA, which showed over 60 pieces in two
central rooms. That same year, a curated
selection of Caland’s work was exhibited
at Art Dubai Modern through Galerie
Janine Rubeiz.
2017
Twenty erotic drawings and three dresses
were featured in the Venice Biennale
curated by Christine Macel.

Huguette Caland, Tarik el Sham, Road to Damascus, Tripoli, 2010. Mixed media on canvas, 205.7 x 146 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Tarik el Sham, Road to Damascus, Tripoli, 2010. Mixed media on canvas,
205.7 x 146 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Mustache Green Faces, 2011. Mixed media on canvas, 190.5 x 148.6 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland, Mustache Green Faces, 2011. Mixed media on canvas,
190.5 x 148.6 cm. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

2018
She had her first institutional show at
the Institute of Arab and Islamic Art in
New York in January. Skira published the
book Huguette Caland: Everything Takes
the Shape of a Person, which presents
the first concentrated look at the erotic,
humorous early works of Caland. The
book focuses on the artist’s work between
1970 and 1979, particularly the paintings
and works on paper that reflect Caland’s
preoccupations with erotica and the
female body.

Huguette Caland. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

Huguette Caland. Courtesy of Studio Huguette Caland.

2019
The Sharjah Biennial hosted two rooms of
her paintings and abayas, in a section at
the Sharjah Art Museum curated by Omar
Kholeif. An exhibition of her works from
the 1970s and 1980s was held at Tate St.
Ives, the UK institution’s easterly coastal
outpost. Caland died on September 23.


A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS, SHOW & TELL #51 PAGES 112 – 125.

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