Through a rigorous selection of masterful works made by two Tunisian pioneering painters – Ammar Farhat and Zoubeir Turki - Le Violon Bleu Gallery aims to bridge the gap between a homegrown Modern art practice and a constellation of regional and international Modern movements.
The aforementioned artists belong to the so-called group of Ecole de Tunis or School of Tunis gathering a number of artists who tried to free themselves from a prevailing Orientalism and draw their own perspective informed by social reality and European culture.
The group was founded under the leadership of French-Tunisian artist Pierre Boucherle in 1949, following the growth of an original group of Tunis-based artists with French and Italian origins who had been active since 1936. Much like the school of Paris before World War I, the Ecole de Tunis made of the Tunisian capital a thriving cultural city with a booming cosmopolitan art scene experimenting with new forms and paving the way for the next generations.
Working in a spirit of brotherhood and cosmopolitanism, the group included Abdelaziz Gorgi, Moses Levy, Ammar Farhat, used togather at the café de Paris in Downtown Tunis. Most of them were trained abroad or in the studios of foreign masters in Tunis where they got initiated to Western Modernism. They would afterwards combine this legacy with their knowledge of the local heritage in order who Yahia Turki, Zubeir Turki, Edgard Naccache and many others to achieve a certain break with the folkloric paintings of their predecessors working in Tunis since the late nineteenth century.
In this regard, many of them employed new techniques inspired by local arts and crafts such as shadow theatre puppets, wooden panels’ decorations or glass paintings. The explored themes ranged from portraits to popular and traditional scenes unveiling a social map of the city at that period.
With this project, Le Violon Bleu offers a unique opportunity to see famous Tunisian artists who were rarely exhibited in international contexts. Given the lack of literature, the gallery would like to raise more awareness and curiosity around Tunisian Moderns whose history is still fragmentary and incomplete.