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Jean Kazandjian

Jean Kazandjian was born in Beirut, Lebanon, where he lived until his early twenties. He was influenced by a wide array of Mediterranean cultures. Of Armenian heritage, he was also exposed to French and English as a second and third language. His family had fled Turkey in 1915 at the onset of the Armenian genocide; after spending many years in Ethiopia, they settled in Lebanon in 1933. Beirut was a culturally rich and sophisticated city and was often referred to as the “Paris of the Middle East” prior to the civil war, which began in 1975. Jean is the third of five children.

  • 1938 Jean was born on February 10, in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • 1944 First drawings as a child.
  • 1948 He attended the Armenian Mekhitarist School in Beirut. Already, he was known for his drawings and caricatures.
  • 1952 He studied in the French College, the annex of the American University of Beirut (A.U.B). His drawings were inspired by the classic masterpieces, which were illustrated in black and white art books in his family’s home.
  • 1960 He submitted a white copy at the Civil Engineering entry Examination and immediately joined the Fine Arts section.
  • 1962 He won the first prize in a competitive tapestry exhibition organized by the Sursock Museum of Beirut. He decided to continue his education in the center of the art world at the time: Paris, where he visited the Louvre Museum several times a week. He also met the painters Jean Carzou and Léon Tutundjian.
  • 1967 He received a Master’s Degree from ENSAD (Ecole nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs) in Paris, with a major in architecture. He started working as an architect, designing stores in Paris.
  • 1968 He returned to Lebanon in May, and spent a year at the head of the Furniture Design Center for University Laboratories in Beirut.
  • 1969 Determined to begin developing his own style as a painter, he quit architecture and decoration.
  • 1970 First solo exhibition at Galerie L’Amateur in Beirut.
  • 1971 Back in Paris, where he settled, he participated in a group exhibition at Galerie G, where he presented mainly drawings. The publisher Pierre Argillet, intrigued with Jean’s work, purchased 60 of his drawings. One-man show at Galeria Angolare in Milan where he presented drawings and etchings.
  • 1972 He met Max Ernst and also the young H.R. Giger and Philippe Mohlitz, inspired by the Surrealists and who had named themselves the “Fantastiques”.
  • 1973 He met with painters as remarkable and diverse as Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder and Giorgio de Chirico. 1973 marked a turning point in his career, where he felt totally involved for the first time.
  • 1974 Solo exhibitions at the Galerie Furstenberg in Paris and the Galerie Modulart in Beyrouth. Group exhibitions at the Salon de Mai and La Jeune Gravure Contemporaine in Paris.
  • 1975 Start of the civil war in Lebanon. He discovered Venice, Italy, in December.
  • 1976 Death of his father. Group exhibition at the Galerie Bijan in Paris.
  • 1977 He participated in the Drawing Biennale at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. He also had a solo exhibition at the Galerie Framond in Paris, and participated in a group exhibition at L'Art Fantastique in Tours, France.
  • 1978 Solo exhibition at the Galerie Ago in Berlin, where his painting entitled: ”Homo, Homini Lupus”, referring to intolerance, provoked fierce reactions.
  • 1979 He worked on the “Swimming Pools” theme and exhibited a series of 40 works on this topic at the Galerie Parvis St. Merri in Paris.
  • 1980 Solo exhibition at the Galerie Ago in Berlin.
  • 1981 Solo and retrospective exhibition of 120 works at the Galerie Campo in Antwerp. Publication of the catalog entitled “Période de 1970 à 1981.” Solo exhibition at the Galerie Furstenberg in Paris. He married Christine Argillet, the daughter of the publisher Pierre Argillet.
  • 1982 He traveled to New York for the first time to meet with his mother. Amid the collections of the Modern Art Museum in New York, he discovered the painter Willem de Kooning, another artistic expression that would influence him during the following years. This prompted him to completely change his work; he destroyed his compositions on paper and his paintings, considering them gloomy and outdated. Solo exhibitions at the Galerie UNIP in Lausanne, followed by the Galerie L'Estampille in Brussels, where he showed drawings and watercolors. Birth of his first son, Alban.
  • 1983 Solo exhibition at the Galerie Furstenberg in Paris. Group exhibition at the Salon du Trait in Paris.
  • 1984 Solo exhibitions at the Musée de l’Athénée in Geneva, at the Galerie Theato in Basel, and at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich. Birth of his second son, Viken.
  • 1985 Solo exhibitions at the Gulbenkian Foundation in London, where he showed paintings and gouache works, and at the New York Art Fair. Group exhibition at the Salon du Trait in Paris.
  • 1986 Solo exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich.
  • 1987 After five years of research, Jean Kazandjian exhibited in Los angeles and discovered Diebenkorn, whom he called “The painter of space.” Group exhibition at the Design Center in Los Angeles, and at the Jeune Peinture in Paris.
  • 1988 Group exhibitions at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich, and at the U.G.A.B. Gallery in New-Jersey. Solo exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich.
  • 1989 Solo exhibitions at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich, and at the Galerie Art Form in Zweibrücken, Germany.
  • 1990 Death of his mother. This period was one of renewal and simplification in his work. First paintings using “Sequences.” Publication of the catalog entitled “Présence-Absence.” Group exhibition at the Galerie Furstenberg in Paris. Group exhibition entitled “Couleurs de la vie” at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
  • 1991 First tridimensional paintings with painted screens. (Venus de Milo.) Solo exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich. Group exhibitions “Couleurs de la vie” at the Cultural Center in Madrid and at the Fine Arts Palace in Prague.
  • 1992 Solo exhibition at the Galerie Art-Mouvement in Paris-Bastille.
  • 1993 Kazandjian learned about the death of the Californian painter Diebenkorn, whom he wanted to meet. Exhibition with the jeweler Jean Vendôme at the Galerie Liehrmann in Liège, Belgium. Solo exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich.
  • 1994 Trip to Nepal. Solo exhibition at the Galerie Art Form in Zweibrücken, Germany.
  • 1995 Solo exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich. Publication of the catalog entitled “Werke 1993/1995.” Group exhibition at the Galerie Liehrmann in Liège, Belgium.
  • 1996 Solo exhibitions at the Château de Champs sur Marne, under the auspices of the French Ministry of Culture, and at the Galerie J.T. Neumann in Munich. Participated in the exhibition entitled “Art n Co” in Briquebec, France. Group exhibition at the Salon Art Jonction in Cannes. Solo exhibition at the Art Fair in Budapest.
  • 1997 Solo exhibitions at the Galerie Mansart in Paris, and at the Galerie J.T. Neumann in Munich. Group exhibitions at the Galerie Furstenberg in Paris, and at the Mariner’s Ball in Paris.
  • 1998 Solo exhibition at the Galerie Furstenberg in Paris. Group exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich. Solo exhibition at the Art Fair in Budapest.
  • 1999 Solo exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich. Publication of the catalog entitled “Neue Werke 1997/1998.” Exhibited one hundred works at A.G.B.U Los Angeles. Group exhibition at the Galerie Weider, in Le Raincy, France.
  • 2000 Jean Kazandjian and his family settled in Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions at the Palm Springs Art Fair, and at the Christine Argillet Gallery in Los Angeles.
  • 2001 Solo exhibitions at the French Consulate in Los Angeles, and at the Christine Argillet Gallery in Los Angeles.
  • 2002 Solo exhibition at the Christine Argillet Gallery in Los Angeles. Group exhibition at A.G.B.U Los Angeles.
  • 2003 Trip to Mexico. He discovered Chichen Itza. Group exhibitions at the Cantessa Gallery in Cleveland, and at the Galerie Jeanne in Munich.
  • 2005 Trip to Tahiti.
  • 2006 Group exhibitions at the Lawrence Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Premier Collection Fine Arts in Chicago and Madison Gallery in La Jolla.
  • 2007 Solo exhibition at Art L.A., Los Angeles.
  • 2008 First trip to Armenia. Solo exhibition at Madison Gallery, La Jolla.
  • 2009 Solo exhibition at Galerie d'Orsay, Boston, MA.
  • 2010 Solo exhibition at Galerie Anais, Los Angeles, CA.
  • 2010 Group exhibition at Swenson Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA.
  • 2011

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