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Dalloul Art Foundation

SALIBA DOUAIHY, Lebanon (1915 - 1994)


Saliba Douaihy was born in Ehden, Lebanon in 1915. At the young age of 14, Douaihy’s father sent him to Beirut to apprentice with Habib Srour. At 17, Douaihy went to Paris, with the help of his...

Written by L'Or Iman Puymartin

Saliba Douaihy was born in Ehden, Lebanon in 1915. At the young age of 14, Douaihy’s father sent him to Beirut to apprentice with Habib Srour. At 17, Douaihy went to Paris, with the help of his local community who raised money for him to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris. He graduated with distinction, winning the top school award and exhibiting at the Salon des Artistes Français. In 1936, the artist returned to Lebanon receiving many commissions for paintings, as well as a professorship with the Collège de la Sagesse.

Towards the latter half of the 40’s, Douaihy began deconstructing the architectural forms of landscapes and rendering the paintings of his surroundings in a cubist-like style. In 1950, Douaihy left for New York City to expand his horizons in the art world. New York was a change from the artist’s familiar environment, prompting him to think at a different scale than he had been while in Lebanon. In New York, he was exposed and surrounded by new artists such as Rothko, Hans Hofmann, and Reinhardt, but he never joined or associated with any art groups or movements. He did, however, take inspiration from the art movements around him, while staying detached in his studio loft in Manhattan. Douaihy began exploring abstract expressionism and simple geometric compositions, where hard-edge painting involved abrupt transitions between zones of color.

Douaihy loved painting on glass as it was a subject very dear to his heart and he found that the colors were more vibrant on glass than on canvas. In 1978, he created sixty-five paintings on glass for the church of The Lady of Lebanon in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

As he broke away from the traditional Lebanese style, he began to delve into the world of simplification. He often used saturated blues, reds, and yellows and created simple shapes to represent mountains, valleys, villages, buildings, and other landscapes particularly the valley of Kadisha.

Douaihy’s landscape paintings are unique as they are not simply panoramas; rather, the perspective he creates seems as though the viewer is looking at a distant village in the valley through a telescope. New York was a pivotal time for Douaihy’s style. He took a course in aesthetics, while reading a book by Immanuel Kant on reducing elements to their most basic forms. At this point, his art became even more abstract than it already was. The paintings that came from the 60’s were a result of the artists search for the ultimate simplification of both form and color. Even while being immersed in the abstract world, Douaihy continued taking commissions for figurative religious works throughout his career. Nevertheless, the artist focused on simplifying his hardedge shapes, brilliantly saturated in color, overlapping and contrasting, caressing and competing with one another. Douaihy remained obsessed with Lebanese landscapes, which, even in his most abstract paintings, are still recognizable in his work.

Saliba Douaihy spent time between London and Paris before passing away in 1994 in New York. 


Abillama, Nour S., and Marie Tomb. Art from Lebanon. Vol. 1. Beirut, Lebanon: Wonderful editions, 2012.

"Biography." Saliba Douaihy. Accessed October 3, 2017.

Domit, Moussa M. The Art of Saliba Douaihy. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1974.

El-Hage, Badr. "Saliba Douaihy." Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World. Accessed October 3, 2017.,-Autobiography-and-Artistic-Views.aspx.

This is a short biography. The full version , along with research, CV and sources will be posted soon. Stay tuned and visit us often or become a member to be notified of our updates.


Selected Solo Exhibitions


Retrospective Exhibition, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France


The Art and Science Center, Nashua, New Hampshire, US
Mountain Top Gallery, Windham, New York, US


Retrospective Exhibition, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, US


Livingston-Learmonth Gallery, New York, US


Gallery One, Beirut, Lebanon


Contemporaries Gallery, New York, US


Lebanese Club, Mexico City, Mexico


Gallery One, Beirut, Lebanon


Gallery One, Beirut, Lebanon
Saint Georges Hotel and Yacht club, Beirut, Lebanon

Selected Group Exhibitions


Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950-1980s, Grey Art Gallery, New York, US
Modern Masters, Meem Gallery, Dubai, UAE


Traces of Drawings, Nabu Museum, El Heri, Lebanon


The Permanent Collection, AUB Byblos Bank Art Gallery, Lebanon
Millenia of Creativity, Nabu Museum, El Heri, Lebanon
A Century in Flux, Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, UAE
Melancholia, The Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium
Ten Stories from the Sursock Museum Collection, Nicolas Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon


Lines of Subjectivity: Portrait and Landscape Paintings, Jordan National Gallery, Amman, Jordan
Chefs-d’Oeuvre de l’Art Moderne et Contemporain Arabe, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
Poetics, Politics, Places, Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes Timoteo Navarro in Tucumán, Argentina


The Short Century, Sharjah Museum, Sharjah, UAE
The Sea Suspended, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran


Sky Over The East, Emirates Palace, UAE


Art From Lebanon, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon


Barbican Gallery, London, UK
Institut du monde Arabe, Paris, France


University Art Gallery, Albany, New York, US


Museo del Folklore Romano, Rome, Italy


Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, US


Salon de Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, France


Birla Institute of Art and Culture, Calcutta, India


The One Hundred Sixty-third Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and
Sculpture, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, US


Seven Decades, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, US


Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, US


National Museum of Art, Beirut, Lebanon


Lebanon Pavilion, World’s Fair, New York, US


Salon des Artiste Français, Paris, France

Awards and Honors


Medaglia d’Oro of the Accademia d’Italia dello Arte e del Lavoro, Italy


Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, US


Lebanese National Order of the Cedar, Lebanon


Best Drawing Award, Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France


Akron Art Institute, Ohion, US
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York, US
Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta, India
Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, US
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, US
Diocese of Saint Maron, Detroit, Michigan, US
Embassy of Lebanon, Washington D.C., US
General Time Corporation, Hartford, Connecticut, US
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, US
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, US
Mc Clusky, New York, US
Museum of Modern Art, New York, US
Mutual Benefit Life Building, New York, US
New York University Art Collection, New York, US
Raytheon Company, Bedford, Massachusetts, US
Xerox Company, Stanford, Connecticut, US
Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
Nicolas Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon
KA Collection, Beirut, Lebanon
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar
Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan
The American University of Beirut, The Permanent Collection, Lebanon
Ministry of Culture, Lebanon
Nabu Museum, El Heri, Lebanon
Emile Hannouche Museum, Zahle, Lebanon
Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
Private collection of David Rockefeller, New York, US
Private collection A. Nader, Brazil
Private collection Arida Argentina
Newark Museum of Art, New Jersey, US




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