|Biography of the artist
|Text by: Dominique Roussel Curator of the Museum of Soisson - France
|Page 1 of 4
In the 20th century, schools of painting are involved in new paths, far from
the strict boundaries outlined by tradition.
A man meanwhile, who seemed to have thwarted the century in a seemingly
state of preserved innocence, leastwise in appearance, did not take part in
the deep transformations that took place around him.
This then, was Charobim, a sociable man, isolated from the romantics, the
moderns, and the surrealists who formed alliances with those critics who
supported the aspirations of their groups.
The birth of Chafik Michail Charobim on November 1894 was a great
happening in the family, as he was the first male offspring for the
Charobims. His father Michail "Bey" married late responding to the
insistence of his brother, who, having lost all hopes of having children of his
own, begged Michail Bey to get married and perpetuate the name of the
family to whom he would leave the family's fortune, his own included.
And so it was, and little Chafik had a very happy childhood, an era where
members of the family took every opportunity to bestow favors upon him
and spoil him.
His father then chief of the court of justice was transferred to Alexandria
and rented a palace, which belonged to a Prince in "Moharam Bey" for the
entire family. This was year 1900. Chafik was then six years old and
attended St-Andre school, traveling to and from school on a dogcart pulled
by a little pony.
The Palace home with the beautiful surrounding gardens left a strong
imprint on that 6-year-old child, who kept forever the memory of the bright
colored flowers in his mind's eyes.
The family's stay in Alexandria lasted tree years and upon their return to
Cairo, Chafik was enrolled in St-Mary school in garden city. It is in this
school that the child began to sketch, a cousin of his father who could draw
and paint further encouraged him to draw.
Michail Bey, Chafik's father who had high hopes of his son becoming a
doctor valued all his art-work as "child Play" but the boy went on sketching
and drawing under the direction of that unexpected teacher from St-Mary
primary School that saw great potential in that boy. Chafik was later sent to
"Les Frère des école chretiennes" where he found again someone who
taught drawing and painting, Father Leon. Seeing the young boy's
drawings, Father Leon in his enthusiasm asked Michail Bey to send the
young Chafik to Europe to study painting. It was naturally out of the
question to even think about it said the older Charobim. (He might settle for
Engineering School instead of Medicine but no Art - no way!)
(Greek Αλεξάνδρεια, Coptic
Rakotə, Arabic: الإسكندرية Al-
Iskandariya), (population of
3.5 to 5 million), is the
second largest city in
Egypt, and its largest
Alexandria extends about
20 miles (32 km) up and
down the Mediterranean
sea in northwest Egypt. It is
home to the Bibliotheca
Alexandrina, the New
Library of Alexandria, and is
an important industrial
centre because of its
natural gas and
oil pipelines from Suez.
In ancient times, the city
was known for the
Lighthouse of Alexandria
(one of the Seven Wonders
of the Ancient World) and
the Library of Alexandria
(the largest library in the
archaeology in the harbour
of Alexandria (which began
in 1994) is revealing details
of Alexandria during the
|Picture of the artist at work in his studio
in Helouan year 1938
|The Art of Chafik Charobim