Who is Huguette Caland?

Dive in to learn more about this Lebanese bohemian artist

Undercover Rossinante II (2012) by HUGUETTE CALANDDalloul Art Foundation

A Lebanese painter and designer born in Beirut in 1931, Huguette is the daughter of Bechara el-Khoury, the first president of the Lebanese Republic. 

Growing up

She grew up feeling the pressure of living in a politically and socially engaged family, and the difficulty of finding her own identity. However, the burdens that come with the constant exposure to the public inspired Caland's first sketches.

As a teenaager, she filled the walls of her room with drawings of faces mirroring her family house packed continuously with people.

Maison de Freige (2010) by HUGUETTE CALANDDalloul Art Foundation

In 1970, Caland made a bold change: she left her husband and children and moved to Paris where she led a genuinely bohemian life. Out of Paris came a series of oil paintings in which she filled canvases with parts of her own body, abstracted to seem almost landscape-like, in colorful –and suggestive – curves of flesh.

In addition to celebrating her body on canvas, Caland was known for adorning it with imaginative fashions. In 1979, the artist walked into the shop of renowned fashion designer Pierre Cardin wearing a caftan, a garment type she had worn exclusively since her father's death. Cardin was so impressed by its originality that he asked Caland to collaborate on a line of caftans, which was released to great success.

Throughout her career, Huguette Caland's work has been a celebration of life, sexuality, and sensuality, with the artist's good humor coming through her signature bright color palette and playful, jocular linework. From her luminous oil paintings to her busy, textural mixed-media works to her minimalist, almost cartoonish black-and-white drawings, Caland has created a world in which the human experience is exalted in all its imperfections.

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