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LebanonArt - CopyrightLebanese Colors, Tome 2, Joseph Sokhn - 1977 ( French)

LebanonArt - CopyrightA question of culture and formation which finds its expression in the work of Joseph Matar by Joanna Bassil on 11 April 2000 ( French)

LebanonArt - CopyrightMeet Joseph MATAR: The Artist who spoke to nature and unveiled its divine beauty! An article by De La Croix De Lafayette. March 6, 2003, Vienna, Austria

LebanonArt - CopyrightJoan Lluís Montané, International Association of Art Critics (In SPANISH) - April 19, 2003 (

LebanonArt - CopyrightArt Comment Quarterly - Summer 2003

LebanonArt - CopyrightJoseph Matar: Wealth of Artistic creativity and abundance of mesmerizing multidimensional colors; The Last Hurrah of the last great masters of the grand Orient By David Nye May, 2004.

LebanonArt - CopyrightThe Figs from Lebanon; Searching for my origins and making good on a promise (Part One): The Journey To Kafaraka By Dr. Hugo Franco (In English - May 2005)

LebanonArt - CopyrightClaude Guérillot, Writer - Of 19 August 2006

LebanonArt - CopyrightJoseph MATAR, light personified by Poetess Andrée Thoumy

LebanonArt - CopyrightMeet Joseph Matar at Edde by Souraya Kanaan Abi Fares (French)

LebanonArt - CopyrightAway from the Humdrum


Joseph Matar from his brushes light is born!

Joseph Matar is first and foremost a personality, a painter but also a poet who handles words as dexterously as his brushes. His paintings have ever read like poems and his poems like paintings. Although he cannot bear to remain in the sun, he paints light itself. He brings down to his canvases that element that the solar star diffuses and that emanates from certain men. For this artist overflowing with life, painting "is made of touches that one must feel and of colours that have to be lived" .

Sarah Briand

Mr. Joseph MATAR,

Better than words, your brush speaks of pure air and of vagueness, of the palm and the sacred tree, and hangs on our lips the ecstasy of beauty, while the sordid “agglomerations” fall in ruin. Manipulator of light, that which streams from your canvases fails to dissipate the captivating mystery of the “Enchanted Bay”.
From the embrace of your exhibition, a pure and spontaneous art achieves its climax. You have shared with our souls a part of your dreams, bearing us away to unsuspected worlds. Accept our gratitude for such boundless generosity.

Andrée Thoumy

Joseph Mattar is one of those poets who are fascinated by the play of colour deployed in nature. When one regards the canvas taking form to his touch, one has the impression that it is the world's beauty in all its completeness which is being renewed.

He pursues his objective even to the very smallest details, wishing thereby to prove - as few know how - the power of the artist to remain the master of his craft in all its rigour. Yet when he allows his lyricism to come out, he wishes to show that the artistic act is not so much a copy of nature as a radical enriching - even to the furthest recesses of beauty - of that nature separated from which he is unable to live.

Joseph Mattar, then can be placed among that small group of Lebanese impressionists fascinated by pure beauty and whose personality should also blossom beyond painting.

Omran Al Kaissey

Exploring the two worlds of the visible and the invisible alike, carried away into an interior universe and yet communicating intensely with the great wholeness of life, of Nature and of the Cosmos, he seeks to express the secret relationship uniting these two spheres and to deliver us the message they send; for, like the poet, he knows that beyond the beauty of colours and forms, through the numberless fantasies and counterpoints of their encounters, whether real or envisioned,"the perfumes, colours and sounds answer each other in a deep, dark unity. He is a mystic, seeking the imprint of divinity.

What an endless task, ever pursued! Canvases innumerable! Tireless! Exhaustion is a stranger to him! Always overwhelmed with work! Time for him is a gift of God. He wishes to waste not a moment of it and to use it to the uttermost, to return and return yet again to this or that masterpiece still needing some final touches! Everything is always in constant movement. Passivity, heaviness and tepidity are all foreign to him! His very love is aggressive!

In the smiling clarity and sincerity of his regard under his greying hair there sparkle goodness, charm and a love of life. He overflows with friendship and generosity as he does with ideas and with dreams! Behind this exubriantly creative will, one perceives a unique mastery and savoir faire, fuelling a consuming flame that raises him to the point even of self-sacrifice. One sees activated in him that which lies within every man, the echoing image of a Trinity to be adored.

Has this painter a particular style, or some recipe or doctrine? He belongs to all the so-called schools! He knows all the -isms! When initiating the young into the secrets of his art, he is the prisoner of none of them. He belongs to the times, his time, and also to eternity, that time which the great thinkers of Greece dared not look in the face, the time of all time, of the great masters and of universal mankind that seeks to capture something of the meaning of things, including of life itself.

Creative artist, theorist and technician, free of all burden of system, he seeks to express himself in light! To him blind chance and obscurity are repugnant. On every canvas, the interplay of line, colour and volume falls into place at the close of a hard struggle, like the victory of a strategist or like some great symphony! Here is "a nest of verdure where a house rings out a melody" and there is a whole village rapt in contemplation of the sea. Beyond stands a vigorous tree that offers the bounty of its fruit. In yet another place one sees an immense sun beating down on the plain, a family around a newborn babe, or the golden glory of an ascending crowd.

Whatever the subject, corners redolent of intimacy, of fellowship, or of confidences exchanged, the soul of a place or of a being, the breath of a spirit, he knows how to say them all in a few masterly strokes. He fascinates us and moves us. To the oriental's gifts of dreams and fantasy, of the unexpected, of the unrealised and of mystic ascension, he joins rigour and objectivity, virtues of the occidental attentive to his own time and anxious for renewal. Under his brush or his spatula his colours, whether thinly laid on or applied in depth, spring to life, tender or assertive, transparent or forceful, always dominated by that one will aspiring to beauty and the meaning of life.

Jean de Lalande
Keneth Mortimer

All begins between '44 and '45, overlooking the sea, the orange groves, the tall palms, the venerable dwellings, and the one tortuous road then winding from the capital to the north of the land, past the enchanting bay of Jounieh on which the statue of the Virgin cast down its gaze, looking from on high over the immense cloak of undulating verdure!

There was the discovery under his little child's hands one day of pans holding different colours, the first contact with the magic of drawings to be coloured. Later came the discovery of light! During the 'fifties there followed studies, the first venturng out into the world, and the approach to the great master-painters, Onsi, Corm, Wehbeh, then the universities of Madrid, Paris and Italy, apprenticeship and mastery of techniques. But behind the art there was the wondering attachment to all that touched on the man in his own country, his house, his village, portrayed in striking canvases of nature, of work, or of intimate moments. Next came the first shows of his work, here, in neighbouring countries and even in America.

There were the museums, the art galleries and the exchanges, and all the time the teaching of his art in the schools and faculties, with tempestuous zeal, with dynamism, with unrelenting mastery, knowing neither rest nor weariness and with a passion for art in its most sacred dimensions, the humble, joyous and brilliant encounter of the creative artist with the God he wished to copy and to comprehend.. Here was a poet, a great painter, to mark this end of a millennary, an inspired thinker with a glowing palette.

Beware, ...his approach is contagious!

Jean Delalande
(from his correspondence)

Our meeting at Lyon remains always fresh in my memory, for time seemed to slip through our fingers like water that cannot be held in one's hand. Allow me, Mr. Matar, to share with you my impression of the man, the poet and the philosopher that you are, one whose conversation I enjoyed, paying scrupulous attention to it all.  Your work, subjective in its essence, espouses at one and the same time that which is exotic and that which is sacred. It is an expressive reality joined by a flow of romantic poetry in which exaltation of heart and mind shows itself in harmonious order. 

Sam Oberg
Historian and art critic, Quebec

What flow of words, words that revolve around a theme of the present! Joseph Matar, a painter with keen observation, carried away by a pictorial sixth sense, has the power of the word in all its expressive wealth, that word which for him is synonymous with action: "I believe that original sin was a sin against the word, a sin therefore against action." Joseph Matar, painter poet, mystical artist, a pioneer of sacred art, delivers us to ecstacy by his achievement. With heart, spirit and learning, Joseph Matar opens the way to dialogue in his painting. This dialogue is a spiritual one. It is an earthly and human citizenship, reaching to scrutinise even the domain of the cosmos. 

N. Hamamgi

A mere stroke of the brush, the slightest suggestion of colour, and lo and behold! there in front of you is the very pinnacle of the talent of Matar. Nobody better than he can create this atmosphere of religion and of simplicity that he conveys in his canvases so rich in diverse tonalities and in cunningly structured harmonies conjugated in counterpoint. Here is fine work distinguished by its intensity.  

E. Davidian

Joseph Matar has the gift of seeing and of making others see.  Between his fingers the artist's colours, soft and gentle, docile and obedient, spread out in fluid stretches of sea, sky or light, or sometimes break away in tortured furrows where violence and contrast are expressed in flowing forms moulded with so much energy that the canvas is covered with bold reliefs and highly strung impulses.

 J. Delalande

I was struck by this sincere simplicity, this mystic beauty and this freshness.  You open our eyes and our soul to the true values in the midst of  the tumult which engulfs us.

 J.C. Perret
 Morestel, France

A universe of love and of hope is truly revealed in this multiplicity of tongues which characterises the pictorial language of Matar. Polyglot as he is where painting is concerned, his colours release into the air the fragrace of roses and of almond trees. One central idea, never exhausted, shows itself always full of life, the idea of Lebanon and man. His very brushes seem drawn into the vertiginous whirl of the artist's wild abandon.


Joseph Matar is not only an interpreter of sacred art but also a poet of the mountains of Lebanon. His works breath joy, optimism, and an admiration for all that is created. His masterpieces are poems of love and hymns to light.

W. Miskawi

Sacred art is difficult and undefinable. The artist must communicate his emotions when faced with what is holy. Every canvas is religious and all art is sacred. Joseph Matar belongs to that category of young Lebanese artists who, without deliberately trying to astonish, have made their reputation as painters of poetic reality, while his own works bear the imprint of his temperament, biting, jovial, powerful and sensitive all at the same time. Whatever subject he approaches is treated with a poetry glowing with sincerity. His work expresses a passion for colour, which he highlights with flashes of the most brilliant intensity. All is blended in a sincerity acquired without constraint.


I am delighted to see Joseph Matar's recent paintings. I am moved, more than ever before, to see them.

Paintings of groups touched me, in a special way, and reminded me of the old country and the village, especially in the summer when we used to eat outside on the balcony in the evenings. They made the longing to my village home stronger, after 20 years of being away. His paintings brought to life the good people of the Lebanese village, with bittersweet memories.

His choice of themes and selection of colors awaken warm memories of beautiful summer evenings or wonderful days in winter or any season. Further, his work opens a forgotten window on the real kind of people the folks from my old homeland are. Also, he puts us all, who come from Lebanese origin, in a better light in the world.

Master Joseph Matar is another giant from Lebanon who makes me proud of my heritage and old country. I surely hope that he continues to receive the recognition and appreciation which he deserves.

With my profound respect and admiration,

Salim George Khalaf

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