Chahine, Edgar

1874 – 1947

Edgar Chahine was born in Venice to Armenian parents. At the age of 21 he decided to travel to Paris and pursue a career in fine arts. He studied painting under formal instruction at the Académie Julian, but his natural ability and his determination to express himself as an artist led him to a personal style based more on the reality of the streets of Paris than the confines of the classroom.

Chahine began to experiment with the possibilities of print making at the age of 25. Although he had already achieved some success with his paintings, he became fascinated with prints and soon worked exclusively in this medium. His prints were very much in demand by collectors and the well known publisher Edmond Sagot quickly became his dealer. He won several medals and awards and received many commissions.

Chahine’s print œuvre is an equal representation of elegant Parisian men and women and Bourgeois society, and more common scenes of country fairs and street life. His sympathetic depictions of children, beggars, circus performers and other often forgotten people were engaging and touched the emotions of the observer, while his portrayals of the more fashionable side of Paris accurately captured its “joie de vivre”.