Huguette Caland

 Early Work 1964


Cancer and Soleil Rouge are two titles given by Huguette Caland to her first painting symbolizing death and the beginning of an adventure. 1964 will be a decisive year as Caland retrieves herself from any social obligations while acquiring a new sense of freedom and personal quest.


Overlooking the sea – at the edge of the family’s property – an old farm becomes a studio. It is the first step into an atypical journey and the start of a new lifestyle that includes the abayas: large dresses that allow the body to move without restriction. As the Sunday lunches attended by many friends, the laughter, loud voices and endless conversations open new horizons, they also offer a clear cut with the political and bourgeois past in which Caland was immersed.


Her art finds its roots in the poetry of a house surrounded by lush gardens, fruit trees, the bare lands of Kaslik and the sea; in the encounters with John Carswell and Arthur Frick as well as the AUB campus and atmosphere; in the support of her close friends Helen Khal, Waddah Faris, Aref el Rayess, Mustapha Ariss, May Joumblat and others who will be the first to witness the emergence of an artist with a peculiar personality.


That year, in a smooth transition, Huguette Caland will produce a body of work inspired by her courses at the American University of Beirut; abstract and geometrical pieces, color testing paintings with pigments and various techniques, as well as portraits.


Throughout her career, references and recurrent themes from this period will appear in Caland’s work.