The present collection of graphics gives an insight into the works of Edgar Chahine. His thematic variety into technical execution of images is unsurpassed and reflects a specific era in history. In his work, he has recorded observations of life in Paris and other cities he visited: the streets, markets, cafes, beaches and character studies; notably, the grace and beauty of Parisian society.
Chahine was born in Vienna of Armenian parents in 1874 and spent his youth in Constantinople where he attended the Armenian Catholic Mekhitarist School and later the Fine Art Academy of Constantinople. In 1892, he traveled to Venice with his mother and attended the Armenian Mekhitarist College in Venice and studied at the Academia Di Belle Arti under Paoletti. In 1895, he left for Paris and studied at the Academie Julian.
His first painting which was exhibited at the Paris Salon “Societe Des Artist Francais” in 1896, was a portrait of a beggar. In the late 1890’s, Chahine began making intaglio prints or etchings, occasionally mixing media to achieve desired effects. Chahine and Eugene Delabre, a superbly skilled printmaker, developed a two-plate system of color printmaking.
Chahine’s reputation soared and his first public showing of etchings was at the salon in 1899, and by 1903, he was a gold medalist.
The artist often turned to Armenian themes and in 1926 was a founding member of “Ani”, the Union of French-Armenian Artists of Paris.
During his lifetime, Chahine produced an enormous amount of works, exploring such themes as elegant Parisians, circus performers, impoverished street people and working street vendors, all reflecting the era known today as “La Belle Epoque”.