Jean Jansem - Original Etching Title: Loneliness Dimensions: 40 x 30 cm Edition of 175 Paper: vélin de Rives 1974 Jean Jansem was born in 1920 at Seuleuze in Asia Minor and spent his early childhood in Salonika. When he was twelve years old his family settled in Paris. As a schoolboy he liked to copy reproductions of ancient sculptures, then following an accident in which he broke the bones of his foot, he spent three years in hospital. Thus, at an age when most children were playing, Jansem came to know the meaning of solitude. This long period of physical inactivity accustomed him to long periods of reflection and meditation, and from this came the gravity that has always characterized him. Although the early chapters of his artistic life were difficult, in fact up to the war his most lucrative work was in the decorative arts - producing designs for fabrics and designing furniture, he never lost sight of his real passion, namely painting. From 1934 – 1936 he attended a variety of evening classes in Montparnasse and the Marais. He met fellow Armenian teacher, Ariel, who taught him to draw, but it was in the works of Picasso that he found his grand revelation. Before he was sixteen he had been admitted to the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs (1936 - 1938) where Beianchon, Leguelt and Oudet exercised a silent and unobtrusive influence on the young artist. During 1937 he completed a training course at the Beaux-Arts and at Atelier Sabatier. In 1950 he went to Greece and it was in the Mediterranean that he discovered light, until then his painting had been sombre. Throughout the Greek countryside he eagerly sketched the shadowy figures who had surrounded him in his infancy and who until then had remained hidden in his subconscious mind - peasants, fishermen, tradesmen. All these he submitted to his friendly scrutiny, these men, women and children whose work was the same from one ocean to another and from one continent to another. He stripped them of the accessories that particular societies might have added to their essential, changeless characteristics. Then followed a period of activity in which he won many awards, in 1951 the Prix Populiste, 1953 the Prix Antral, 1954 the Bourse Natioale, in 1958 Prix Comparaison in Mexico. In 1959 he participated in the Biennale de Bruges. He is a member of the Salon d'Automne and has participated in: Salons des Independents, Salon des Tuileries, Salon d'Art Sacre, Salon de l,'Ecole de Paris, Salon des Peintres temoins de leur temps. He has exhibited in Salon d'Atitimne, Salon de Comparaison, Salon du Dessin and Salon de la Peinture a 1'eau. His paintings appear in Museums at Ville de Paris, Ennery de Paris, Poitiers and several Art Museums in the U.S.A.