Skip to content

Abdallah BENANTEUR (1931-2017)

Abdallah Benanteur is one of the greatest Algerian painters of his generation. He uses different techniques : oil on canvas, watercolor, gouache, drawing, wash. Passionate about illuminated manuscript books and Muslim poetry, he has also produced about a hundred illustrated books.

After his studies at the School of Fine Arts in Oran, he moved to Paris in 1953 with the painter and engraver Mohammed Khadda. He attended evening classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière which influences his artistic practice ; he abandons figuration in favor of non-figuration, leaving behind still lifes, portraits and self-portraits for luminous landscapes. Some critics describe his style as non-figurative impressionism, even if sometimes a barely perceptible soul crosses the canvas, as in “Hermit”, 1994, oil on canvas, 114 x 146 cm.

Benanteur paints most often alone in his studio with a subdued light. By leaving his native land for Paris, the light of his paintings changes but the artist does not try to retain the light of his childhood ; his color and brightness of his paintings harmonize with his new place of life, which marks a turning point in his production. 

Marc Hérissé describes Benanteur’s painting as “an iridescent palette, diaphanous, airy, vibrant transparencies, within a gesture sure, masterful, poetic and virile. The holes of light, solar or stormy, carry you beyond the limits of the painting. In front of these shivers of light, the memory of Turner takes hold of you. It is however another world, but it is indeed the same magic.”

In France and abroad, Abdallah Benanteur participates in many group exhibitions. In 1957 he held his first monographic exhibition entitled “Benanteur, paintings” at the Cimaise gallery. In 1970, the Museum of Modern Art of Paris presents a retrospective of his engraved work. Recently he has exhibited at the Institut du Monde Arabe in 2019 during two group exhibitions on drawings from the Arab world entitled : “With pen, brush and pencil : drawings from the Arab world” and in 2020 for the collection “Portrait de l’Oiseau-Qui-N’existe-Pas”. In 2021, he is the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Angoulême (MAAM) on the occasion of the French film festival paying tribute to his native country, Algeria.