Jean Jansem (1920-2013)
Jansem was born in Seuleuze (Bursa), former Armenian part of Turkey (Spent his early childhood in Salonique, Greece)
1936 – 1938 Ecole des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
1939 First painting shown at the Salon des Independants, Paris
1940 – 1949 Attended La Grande Chaumière workshop in Montparnasse, Paris
1951 Populist Prize, France
1953 Antral Prize, France
1958 Biennale de Bruges Prize, Belgium
1958 Comparaison Prize, Mexico
1958 Voburitz Award
1958 Museum of Mexico Award
1969 Retrospective at Mitsukosi Corporation, Tokyo, Japan
1978 Opening of the Galerie Matignon, Paris
1992 Opening of the Jansem Museum, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
1993 Opening of the Azumino Jansem Museum, Nagano-Ken, Japan
1997 Knight of the French Arts and Literature Order
2002 Emeritus Doctorate from the Republic of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences
2003 Knight of the French Legion of Honor
2003 A series of 4 documentary films was produced about Jansem's life and work – DVD available in English, Japanese and French from Galerie Matignon, Paris.
Since 2007 Jansem’s works are permanently exposed at Arame Art Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia.
2010 Jansem was awarded an Order of Honor of Armenia
2015 A Unique Art Show Featuring the Works of French-Armenian Artist Jean Jansem at Arame Art Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2013 French-Armenian Art at Arame Art Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2010 New Masterpieces of Arame Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2009 Exhibition at Arame Art Gallery, Yerevan, Armenia
2007 Portraits, drawings 1947-2006, Galerie Matignon, Paris, France
2007 22nd Annual Exhibition, Galerie Rienzo, New York, USA
2006 Dancers and Landscapes, paintings, Galerie Matignon, Paris, France
2005 Galerie Christiane Vallé, Clermont-Ferrand, France
2004 Les Murs, paintings, Galerie Matignon, Paris, France
2004 Retrospective, Château de Vascoeuil, Eure, France
2003 The weddings, paintings, Galerie Matignon, Paris, France
2003 Jean Jansem: Paintings of the 1980’s, Galerie Rienzo, New York, USA
2002 Paintings and drawings, Printemps Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
2002 Massacres, National Museum, Genocide Memorial, Yerevan, Armenia
2001 Paintings and drawings, Ludwig von Saarlouis Museum, Germany
2001 Massacres, Galerie Matignon and Galerie Flora J., Paris, France
2001 Still-lifes by Modern Masters, Galerie Rienzo, New York, USA
2000 Jean Jansem: Paintings & Works on Paper, Galerie Rienzo, New York, USA
2000 Mythologies, Galerie Matignon, Paris, France
1999 Drawings, Azumino Jansem Museum, Nagano-Ken, Japan
1998 FIAC Saga, Galerie Flora J., Paris, France
1998 Printemps Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
1998 Large format paintings and drawings, Galerie Matignon, Paris, France
1997 Retrospective, Navio Museum, Osaka, Japan
1997 Atelier, Galerie Matignon, Paris, France
1997 Galerie Flora J., Paris, France
1996 Printemps Ginza-Mainichi, Tokyo, Japan
1996 Retrospective, Azumino Jansem Museum, Nagano-Ken and Daimaru Museum, Tokyo, Japan
1995 Works on Paper, Galerie Flora J., Paris, France
1994 La Maison des Arts Antony, France
1993 Galerie Matignon, Paris, France
1992 Galerie Flora J., Paris, France
France: Modern Art Museum, Poitiers Museum, Fontainebleau Museum, Musée d’Ennery
Japan: Jansem Museum, Tokyo; Azumino Jansem Museum, Nagano-Ken
Russia: Modern Art Museum, Moscow
Armenia: National Gallery of Armenia, Genocide Memorial of Armenia, Modern Art Museum of Armenia
Jansem started painting at a young age. His earlier work addressed Armenian themes. He sought professional schooling to develop his art early on, attending the free academies of Montparnasse (1934-36). After graduating high school in 1938, he worked at the Sabatie studio for a year, where he continued to focus on improving his skills.
Jansem’s primary sources of inspiration were Goya and Brueghel. Although his heroes varied, his mother and his children were the main subjects in his earlier works. His paintings also depicted scenes from the literary works of Cervantes, Francois Villon, Baudelaire, Albert Camus, and Federico Garcia Lorca. New heroes in his works emerged from journeys to Greece and Andalusia, where he observed different people in the streets, festivals, and churches.
Being a visionary artist, Jansem’s works embody a sincere self-exploration, filled with an immense love towards life and people. He often depicted different states of desperation, opening a window into the world of deep philosophical sentiments and thoughts for his spectators. He was characterized as a miserablist, an artist of unfortunate people.
Straddling observation and creation, Jansem’s paintings express a world occupied by a deep truth, and reveal his sentiments towards the misfortune of his people. His works embody the grief of the Armenian Nation.
Jansem’s landscapes have, with time, become a celebration of light. A personal technique of art within the reach of anyone’s understanding, in the great tradition of French painting. The Academie of days gone by classified the genres in order of value: historical compositions, religious and mythological ones, portraits, still-lives and landscapes. Jansem and his effusive creativity were indifferent to this order. When still very young, the desire to paint landscapes of his travels emerged: his Georgics and Pastorals.
Jansem is a painter who dwells on his origins. He travels to Armenia and paints Lake Sevan, the unchanging whiteness of its waters contrasting with the thousands of blended greys of the mountains.
It is impossible to imagine anything so at one with the paintings of Jansem as his drawings. Nothing, from the beginning to the end, shares more closely his artistic universe than the writing which flows from it: inevitable and necessary as the circulation of blood in a man’s veins.
Resolute in his ideas, without being unduly quarrelsome, Jansem does not let off useless energy. But during the course of long conversations about his profession and about Art, the painter has revealed a deep culture and a sturdy inner security. This last, not based on Cartesian logic, is not shackled by the precision and limits of our mental landscape. His logic is on another scale; it is inspired by broader standards, where the visible and invisible, purity and misery are not contradictory. As a result, whatever he has seen or felt about nature ceases to be real.
Jean- Marc Campagne