Omar Onsi

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Omar Onsi (Arabic: عمر أنسي‎‎; 1901–1969) is a pioneer of modern painting in Lebanon[1] and Lebanon's most renowned impressionist painter.[2]

Onsi was born in Beirut. His father, a general practitioner, had been one of the first Beirut Muslims to study modern Western medicine[3] and his mother came from the prominent Sunni Muslim family Salam.[1] After an attempt to study medicine,[4] Onsi studied painting in Beirut with Khalil Saleeby.[5] From 1922 to 1927, he travelled to Transjordan, where he taught painting and English to the children of King Abdullah.[5] The discovery of the desert and its colours during this stay had a major influence on his work.[5][6] In 1928, Onsi went to Paris to continue his training and stayed for 3 years, attending the Académie Julian[7] and different workshops.[5] During that period, Onsi focused on painting portraits, nudes, and Parisian scenery.[8] In 1933, he returned to Lebanon, bringing back a colorful impressionist palette[9] and a French second wife.[8] From then on, his work focused on the Lebanese landscape.[8] After his death in 1969, he became one of Lebanon's best-known artists.[10]

Selected Exhibitions[edit]

Solo Exhibitions[edit]

Group Exhibitions[edit]

  • Art from Lebanon, Beirut Exhibition Center, 2012[11]


  • Cyr, Georges (1950). Omar Onsi (in French). Beirut: Murex. OCLC 229805154. 
  • Harawi, Elias (1997). عمر أنسي، ١٩٠١-١٩٦٩ (in Arabic). Beirut: Musée Nicolas Sursock. OCLC 41121364. 


  1. ^ a b Kassir, Samir; Debevoise, Malcolm; Fisk, Robert (2010). Beirut. University of California Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-520-25668-2. 
  2. ^ "Lebanon - party of God". PBS. May 2003. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ Berque, Jacques; Chevallier, Dominique (1976). Les Arabes par leurs archives (XVI-XX siecles). Centre national de la recherche scientifique. p. 197. ISBN 978-2-222-01836-0. 
  4. ^ "عُمر الأنسي" (in Arabic). Yabeyrouth. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d Naef, Silvia (1996). À la recherche d'une modernité arabe: l'évolution des arts plastiques en Égypte, au Liban et en Irak (in French). Slatkine. p. 160. ISBN 978-2-05-101376-5. 
  6. ^ Omar Onsi : The gardener of epiphanies. Beirut: CREE. 1985. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ Mikdadi, Salwa. "Modern Art in West Asia: From Colonial to Post-colonial Period". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "Omar Onsi". Art in Lebanon. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Consultation collective sur les problèmes contemporains des arts arabes dans leurs relations socio-culturelles avec le monde arabe" (PDF) (in French). Unesco. December 1973: 4. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  10. ^ Alex Klaushofer (2007). Paradise divided: a portrait of Lebanon. Signal Books. p. 230. ISBN 978-1-904955-35-1. 
  11. ^ "Art From Lebanon". Beirut Exhibition Center. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 

External links[edit]