Featured Artist

Willy Aractingi


Born in New York, Willy Aractingi took up painting aged just 12 years, honing his skills in Egypt, where he was raised by extended family. Towards the end of the 1940s, he moved to Beirut, where he met his wife. Aware of his family responsibilities, he put his art to one side and focused on his day job.

Some years before the civil war in Lebanon, Aractingi launched a modern art gallery in partnership with Alexandre lolas. He felt able to begin painting full-time by the mid -1980s, and towards the end of the decade, started working on his biggest and best-known oeuvre, the illustrations of the Fables of the French poet Jean de La Fontaine, which took seven years to complete. He continued painting until his death in 2003.

Aractingi’s work has been featured in over 100 exhibitions in Lebanon, France, the UK and the US. A retrospective show at the Sursock Museum in 2017, spanning 1973 – 2003 and titled ‘Les Mondes de Willy Aractingi’ (The Worlds of Willy Aractingi), reaffirmed his status as one of Lebanon’s most talented modernists.