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Born in 1918 in Damascus, Syria, Nazem al Jaafari is the last surviving modernist pioneer of his generation
and is considered an innovator of the use of Impressionism in Syrian painting, which reached its height in the
In the early 1940s he was part of a group of young Syrian artists who were sent to study in Egypt
under the French Mandate. After graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo in 1947, he returned to
Syria to work as an art teacher in secondary schools and taught at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus.
Despite withdrawing from the mainstream Syrian art scene for decades and seeking other opportunities
abroad, (exhibiting frequently in South America and Europe) he is recognized for his important contributions
to regional art. Through his early techniques and extensive documentation of Damascus’ Old City, al Jaafari
influenced generations of Syrian artists.
Although he has created an extensive portfolio that is estimated to include up to 7,000 paintings and drawings,
his estate has largely stayed intact, as he has been reluctant to sell his work.
Nevertheless some examples of
his paintings are found in the National Museum of Damascus and in private collections throughout the Middle
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