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Jean Jansem

Born in: 1920

Turkey

Biography
Jean Jansem was born in 1920 in Turkey. In 1922 he fled from the Armenian Genocide and settled in Greece with his family. He quit Salonika ten years later for Paris and joined the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse, where he took evening classes, after which he studied at the National French School of Decorative Arts and finally the National French School of Fine Arts. The subjects he portrayed were sometimes members of his family, dancers or models he had pose for him. Often in position of weakness, he gives them a resigned and virtuous air but he also represented subjects in a more erotic abandon, always showing the marks of time, wear and age. Inspired by Pieter Brueghel senior and James Ensor, his works are influenced by the Armenian Genocide and the Second World War. The exposed line work is fine and melts into smudged oil, with a transparent look, opening the way to the spiritual over the material in his quest for verity. He also experimented with engraving and lithography. It was in 1957 that his career really took off, and his works became known across Europe and the United States. When the Mitsukoshi Gallery presented an exhibition looking back at his work in 1969, he received major recognition in Japan. Two museums are dedicated to him as well, the Jansem Museum in Tokyo Ginza and the Azumino Jansem in Nagano-Ken.
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