• Misha Capnist

Abraham Dayan, a Traveler of Expression

A work of art differs from a simple drawing since the viewer feels like the recipient of a message, a communication: the more the viewer is interested in the message, the more effective the communication has been.

It is fascinating to distinguish between created art and intended art. If in the latter we see a commercial aspect, it’s in the first manifestation that we realize all the purity of the creative impulse and we can enjoy its gratuitousness - the generous act of love that precedes and disregards materials.

The Judgement of Solomon, copyright by Abraham Dayan

Dayan's (Casablanca - Morocco - 11/21/1960, currently living in Le Havre – France) communicative choice relies on the technique of painting, making the stroke three-dimensional, allowing the viewer to get lost in the geometries of the canvases, caressing colors and subjects. It opens an imaginary world made of feelings, moments, purity.

Dayan's proud and firm, precise, surgical stroke invests the canvases with a pure and intact message, complete with a psychological depth that can be read even in the variety of colors that suggest stories, inner doubts, hope, and emotions. Dayan, we should not forget, at the end of the 70s and until the mid 80s, maintained his own fashion house in the watchmaking sector (and isn’t it interesting to find the everlasting question Is Fashion Art?), to devote himself entirely to painting, studying the great masters from the Middle Ages until today.

From Paris to Martinique, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach Florida, Savannah, Georgia to Manhattan, New York and back to France, from Home to Outside, the need to exhibit his paintings to the public resonates in the heart of Dayan. Since then it is an incessant succession of international exhibitions, with his paintings traveling from the United States to Italy, Canada, and France, receiving acclaim by critics from both the Old and New World. However, it is after reporting a huge success at the Palermo Biennale in 2013 with The Judgement of Solomon, which opens the Italian scene in Dayan, he has since then participated in the main art manifestation in the Bel Paese with jury awards, including the Shakespeare Prize in Verona (2014), and the International Prize Artist of the Year 2019 in Mantua (both cities are in Italy) and also participating at the Biennale d’Arte Contemporanea in Florence (2003 and 2015).

The series of Les Ménines as well as the name, recalls the famous The Family of Philip IV (or, indeed, Les Ménines, in French) by Velasquez, and also recalls the portraits that Soutine painted in the early twentieth century, with his way of representing reality in a timeless way as an inner tragedy. Known for their raw truth - the youthful figures are alone, or in the company of other figures, and convey dramatic silences, daily interactions, and childish games that touch memories and the unconscious.


The Family of Philip IV, Diego Velázquez, 1656/1657, public domain


A part of Les Ménines series. Copyright by Abraham Dayan

Dayan's paintings are striking for their sobriety and modesty. They allude, accompany, and suggest without ever shouting. They wait to be questioned and only then do they emanate voices, sounds, colors, and feelings until they bind us with those clear and firm lines that so many in history have gone to change the concept of painting.