BIOGRAPHY


Who is Samir Sammoun

Samir Sammoun was born August 10, 1952, in a quaint Lebanese village perched atop the Chouf Mountain, 40 km south of Beirut. To this day, the artist vividly recalls the colourful Mediterranean landscape of his childhood. Samir Sammoun emigrated from Lebanon to Canada at age 21 where he obtained degrees in electronic engineering and telecommunications. Since graduation, he has pursued his professional career as well as his passion, painting. Chris Klimantiris, who began representing Samir Sammoun in 1996, provides an eloquent reaction to the artist’s work. “The first time that I saw Samir’s paintings, I was fascinated by his refined technique. I felt like a time traveller, transported to turn-of-the-century Paris and the Impressionists.” Samir Sammoun does have a unique postimpressionist style and technique. A great colourist by nature, he has a very rich palette of up to 30 tones and shades. He uses soft, round brushes and works mainly on rough jute and linen canvas, strong material that is capable of holding the generous amount of oil colours that Samir uses to create a backdrop. When starting to paint, Sammoun carefully prepares his canvas with burnt sienna and burnt umber, which he applies with a pig-bristle brush. His goal is to have the grain of the canvas show. This technique is used to create the illusion of light emanating from inside the painting. Layers of paint give a natural texture to the canvas. The artist’s technique, successive voluntary strokes, generates a certain relief and variation in the shades.


Artist Statement by Samir Sammoun

“When I started to be attracted to paint in my childhood, my focus was how to manipulate oil paint or watercolour, both medium where enjoyable to me. I started water colouring at the age of 5, and as you know, my first experience with oil happened as I recall at the age of 13. Subject matter was at that moment romantic scenery such as sunset or seascape with a boat, etc. It was playing with colour that grabbed more my attention. As I recall I was more attracted to old masters including Turner, Corot, Fragonard and others. Impressionism started to get my attention in the early twenties, and first of them was August Renoir, then Claude Monet. And then Vincent Van Gogh captured my attention with his bright colours rendering of Provence. I guess I understand, why. I am born in Lebanon which has the same luminosity as south of France. Cypresses, wheat fields, olive groves, all these were subjects that I recall from my childhood. For me the challenge was to render the beauty of such subjects in my own way and it was obvious and a must for me to create my own class of things where a new technique should be created to characterize my art. Of course I could have done beautiful rendering of landscape and cityscape using classical impressionist technique. I mean if you look side by side to paintings by Monet, Sisley or Pissarro, they have similar technique. The difference is the mastering of the colours, hue and subject. Renoir was something else, as well as Cézanne, etc. Van Gogh was definitely different as well as the variety of subjects he treated and mastered like no one else in my eyes. Then came the fauves with bright colours and hues and it was a school by itself. So, from what is left or what could be the new way special to me, I create to render the beauty of nature. Here is how I see it: First it came to me after a deep observation of the nature, especially landscape of wild fields of flowers, apple orchards, olive groves, etc. When you observe carefully such landscapes, you notice that the scene is basically composed of layers of colours and hues superposed in random (means individually unorganized manner) yet the final result looks very much similar. I explain: When you stand before a wheat field in the wind, no matter what waves the wheat follows with the wind (individual random layers of colours superposed one after the other) the wheat field looks almost similar with one exception, it is vibrant and it lives.


A landscape artist, Samir Sammoun has a vast repertoire of pictorial themes, e.g. willows, apple trees in bloom, wheat fields, olive trees, villages, storms, cityscapes and seascapes. His paintings reflect a tranquil happy mood. This is the art of a man who loves life. As the artist puts it, “I try to make the person looking at my painting feel the colour of the sky, the temperature of the air, and the breeze in the apple trees or the wheat stalks.” Sammoun’s art should be viewed from a distance of a few feet. From close, his paintings seem abstract. Only when the viewer is at the right distance does the depth of the relief and scene appear in three dimensions. Sammoun almost never uses classical perspective. His initial sketch resembles a few blotches that outline shadows and basic reference points in the scene that he has already turned over many times in his mind. The work is then carried out in the “automatist” style that relies on the number of strokes previously applied. The final result comes only at the end when the layers of light are placed in the appropriate places according to the texture generated. Sammoun’s subtle touch appears in his “wheat fields” series. Here the rhythmic gesture of the artist combines grace and spontaneity. The delicate touches highlight the slender stalks and the tufts heavy with grain. The artist knows instinctively where the impact should be in the painting. “At times, it is the canvas that seems to evolve on its own. It is through this process that I feel I am playing with the fate of my renderings on the canvas. And it is from this inspiration that I feel I am the one to harness the fate of what is to follow.”

So I said to myself, if you want to paint a wheat field all you have to do is to master the layers of colours and hues with spontaneous and energetic brush stroke without any premeditation of what the individual spots of colours are but having in mind always what the general scene you try to paint should represent. This is how I paint. I know I am doing a wheat field, and the final result is a wheat field, but the individual strokes are rendered in random manner with no premeditation except not to divert from the general representation the subject is meant to be, exactly as if my mind, my hand and my brush are the wind carrying out the light on the tip of the brush and depositing it on the canvas. The canvas is first prepared with a coat of burnt sienna. That is the light that integrates all the subject matter. And this coat appears everywhere on the canvas. And this is one important characteristic of my technique. That burnt sienna is the light that integrates the scene and gives it the desired vibration. The second important characteristic is the heavy impasto I deposit on the canvas which makes possible the random rendering of the subject. The third being the vibration of the layers of colours when they are one beside the others to create the atmosphere, the ambiance and the temperature of the moment. The fourth is the mix of a number of colours in the same brush stroke which give the flickering effect. The fifth being the loose movement I give to each stroke as if the wind is playing with it which gives the painting the movement effect, etc. When I paint, I am always standing up. It is a very energetic process where I deposit cluster of paintings of the same hues and go back to see how it vibrates and integrates with rest. I feel in my mind that I am doing a right thing when I am painting and that the result will look to my satisfaction from the right distance. Because seen from close my art looks abstract. The painting looks in its three dimensions from the right distance. The paintings start building up with thick layer after layer of paints rendered in an automatic manner until the final light spots are deposited. No two paintings of the same subject can be the same and I am incapable of creating the same painting I already did. And, of course, no one can copy a Sammoun. People and art critics say that my art is very exclusive, vibrant and lives and talk to you depending on daylight, the distance and the angle you are looking to it.

All the best,

Samir Sammoun


Museum’s Permanent Collections and Exhibitions

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), invited artist for Give the Arts a Chance fundraising, Boston, MA, United States, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Permanent collection of the Plattsburgh State Art Museum | State University of New York, Plattsburgh, NY, United States
  • Permanent collection of The Museum of Russian Art (MoRA), Jersey City, NJ, United States
  • Permanent collection of the Latino Art Museum, Pomona, CA, United States
  • Permanent collection of the Samuel de Champlain History Center, Champlain, NY, United States
  • Permanent collection of Saint-Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Montréal, QC, Canada
  • Permanent collection of Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Kuwait
  • Art Gallery – “Sales and Rentals”, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montréal, QC, Canada, exhibition Oct and Nov 2005
  • Marc-Aurèle Fortin Museum, Montréal, QC, Canada, exhibition November 2003 to January 2004

Solo Exhibitions

  • Saatchi Gallery, START Art Fair, London, England, 2019
  • Gallery D’May, Cape May, NJ, United States, September 2015, 2018, 2019
  • LA Art Show, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 2019
  • Ocean Galleries, Avalon, NJ, United States, 2019
  • Onessimo Fine Art Gallery, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, United States, 2013, 2018, 2019
  • Red Dot Miami, Miami, FL, United States, 2013, 2018, 2019
  • Artexpo New York, New York, NY, United States, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Galerie d’Orsay, Boston, MA, United States, October 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Art Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM, United States, 2018
  • Art Salzburg Contemporary and Antique International, Salzburg, Austria, 2018
  • The gallery Steiner, Vienna, Austria, 2018
  • Art San Diego, San Diego, CA, United States, 2014
  • Plattsburgh State Art Museum | State University of New York, Plattsburgh, NY, United States, June 2009
  • Latino Art Museum, Pomona, CA, États-Unis, July 2008
  • J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Arts, San Antonio, TX, United States, November 2004, May 2007
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, exhibition at the “sales and rentals” Art Gallery, Montréal, QC, Canada, October to November 2005
  • Chasen Galleries, Richmond, VA, United States, October 2002, January 2003 and 2004, December 2005
  • Marc-Aurèle Fortin Museum, retrospective exhibition, Montréal, QC, Canada, November 2003 to January 2004
  • Art Palm Springs, Palm Springs, CA, United States, 2003
  • DECOR Expo, Atlanta, GA, United States, 2002
  • Artagraphix, Westlake Village, CA, United States, June to July 2002
  • Salon national des galeries d’art, Montréal, QC, Canada, 2000
  • Gallery Klimantiris, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1997
  • Place Bonaventure – Salon des métiers d’art du Québec, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1995
  • Centre d’Art Morency, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1994

Group Exhibitions

  • Saatchi gallery, START Art Fair, London, England, 2019
  • LA Art Show, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 2017, 2019
  • Art International Zurich – Contemporary Art Fair, Zurich, Switzerland, 2018
  • The Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai, 2017
  • The Museum of Russian Arts (MoRA), Jersey City, NJ, United States
  • Galerie d’Orsay, Boston, MA, United States, 2013, 2018
  • Plattsburgh State Art Museum | State University of New York, Plattsburgh, NY, United States, April 2009, 2010
  • City Hall – Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada, June 2005
  • McCord Museum, Montréal, QC, Canada, February to March 2002
  • Artexpo New York – Collectors Editions, New York, NY, United States, 2001, 2002
  • CAPI, Rome, Italie, 1993
  • Le Cercle des Artistes Peintres et Sculpteurs du Québec, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1992

Major Galleries Permanent Representation

  • Galerie d’Orsay, Boston, MA, United States
  • Off The Wall Gallery, Houston, TX, United States
  • Onessimo Fine Art Gallery, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, United States
  • Ocean Galleries, Avalon, NJ, United States
  • The gallery Steiner, Vienna, Austria • Gallery D’May, Cape May, NJ, United States
  • Sienna Fine Art, Las Olas, FL, United States
  • Hazelton Fine Art Galleries, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Le Balcon d’Art | Art Gallery, Saint-Lambert, QC, Canada

Awards and honours

  • Ordre du mérite – Ville de Brossard, “culture” category, Brossard, QC, Canada, 2017
  • Fine Art Magazine – Hall of Fame, Samir Sammoun, New York, NY, United States, 2015
  • Fine Art Magazine, Samir Sammoun – 1,000 Years of Peace, painting Champ de moutarde was selected for front cover, Spring 2004
  • Received by the President of Lebanon, His Excellency Emil Lahoud, in the Presidential Palace in Baabda. Donated painting Olive Grove to exhibit in the Presidential Palace, Baabda, Lebanon, 2003
  • Palm Spring, Art Expo, Champ de moutarde was selected for back cover, 2003
  • DECOR Expo Atlanta – show guide, painting Champ de blé was selected for front cover, Atlanta, GA, United States, 2002
  • Invited Artist: Live Art Auction, Mountain Lake PBS, Plattsburgh, New York, NY, United States, April 2002
  • Invited Artist: commissioned painting, National Assembly Portrait, gift to the Gouvernement du Québec, Québec, QC, Canada
  • Invited Artist: Les Ailes de la Mode – La Maison de Rêve contest, Montréal, QC, Canada, 2001
  • Honoured Invited Artist, Caza, Longueuil, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1999
  • Invited Artist: commissioned painting, website of Saint-Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1998
  • Invited Artist: calendar’s cover page of Saint-Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1998
  • Invited Artist: book cover, ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux – Gouvernement du Québec, Québec, QC, Canada, April 1997
  • Honorable Mention, 100 peintres contest, Montréal, Québec, Canada, 1992

Corporate and public collections

  • President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton
  • Presidential Palace, Beirut, Lebanon
  • City of Plattsburgh – Office of the Mayor, Plattsburgh, NY, United States
  • Saint-Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Montréal, QC, Canada
  • Order of Engineers and Architects of Lebanon
  • Vidéotron, second-largest cable company in Canada
  • Ayerst Laboratories, Montréal, QC, Canada
  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., Montréal, QC, Canada
  • Swabey Ogilvy Renault, Montréal, QC, Canada
  • Gouvernement du Québec, Québec, QC, Canada
  • IBM, Montréal, QC, Canada • Coca Cola, San Antonio, TX, United States
  • Taiclet Family Center | Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton, MA, United States
  • Data Point Capital, Boston, MA, United States
  • Charlesbank, Boston, MA, United States

Also in private collections in the United States, Canada, France, England, Austria, South America, Australia, Lebanon, Arab countries and others.

Print press

  • Fine Art Magazine, Samir Sammoun Celebrates Spring, “Timeless and Alluring – The Landscapes of Samir Sammoun”, Victor Bennett Forbes, Spring 2018
  • Fine Art Magazine, Samir Sammoun’s: A Painter’s Vision, “Samir Sammoun’s View of Lake Champlain”, Victor Bennett Forbes, Special Artexpo Edition, 2015
  • Fine Art Magazine, Samir Sammoun’s Masterpieces of Love, Victor Bennett Forbes, Spring 2015
  • Fine Art Magazine, Samir Sammoun in Montreal, “Channeling Van Gogh – Enjoying the Party,” Victor Bennett Forbes, Winter 2006
  • Fine Art Magazine, Samir Sammoun’s Poetic Renditions, “Samir Sammoun’s Peace Project”, Victor Bennett Forbes, Spring 2006
  • Fine Art Magazine, Samir Sammoun - 1,000 Years of Peace, “Samir Sammoun – Fields of Faith, Groves of Gratitude”, Victor Bennett Forbes, Spring 2004
  • Fine Art Magazine, Samir Sammoun – Walking with Giants, Victor Bennett Forbes, Spring 2003
  • Magazin’art, Samir Sammoun : Artiste peintre de grande classe – Samir Sammoun: A Class Act, October 2000
  • Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ)
  • Bibliothèque et Archives Canada (BAC)
  • Samir Sammoun, Artiste peintre de classe internationale, Pierre H. Savignac, 1996

Media coverage

  • Télévision de Radio-Canada, 5 sur 5, Montréal, QC, Canada, 2005
  • Mountain Lake PBS, Landscape Escape, Plattsburgh, NY, United States, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Lebanese Media, report on visit to the President of Lebanon, Baabda, Lebanon, 2003
  • LBCI Television, Lebanon, 2003
  • Les Ailes de la Mode – La Maison de Rêve contest, Montréal, QC, Canada, editions of 2001, 2002, 2003
  • TQS (Télévision Quatre-Saisons), Les Ailes de la Mode – La Maison de Rêve contest, Montréal, QC, Canada, 2001
  • Magazine Imaginaire, Samir Sammoun : l’art de nous imprégner des atmosphères hyper-impressionistes, Québec, QC, Canada, May 1999
  • Montréal Gazette, website, Saint-Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1997
  • Lebanese Television, coverage of solo exhibition at Galerie Klimantiris, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1997
  • Lebanese Television, coverage of solo exhibition at Galerie d’art Morency, Montréal, QC, Canada, 1994