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    Defining the Evolution of
    art throughout time
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    Emile Hannouche Museum
    a journey through the art
a journey through art

The Emile Hannouch Museum

The soul of a collector

Emile Hannouche

Emile Hannouche’s interest in historic and modern painting goes back to his childhood. Encountering the prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Abdallah Al-Salim Al-Sabah decisively marked his early development. Already aged, the sheikh was fond of the young boy whom he sensitized to the world of art. An important political figure, he received politicians, journalists and artists. Many of these artists he patronized: Wehbi, Farroukh, Onsi, to name just these three. The Sursock family were regular visitors to the family's casino, awakening in the young Emile an interest in the decorative arts and Islamic art. Another determinant meeting was, at 11 years old, with Aref Rayess, with whom he established an enduring friendly relationship and who guided Emile in his acquisitions of modern as well as historic paintings. Rayess also introduced him to artists such as seta Manoukian and Jamil Molaeb. Emile Hannouche developed his collection through meeting with artists but also by buying from individual collectors who, contrary to him, tended to be more interested in western art than Lebanese. He frequented Janine Rubeiz Dar el fan in the company of Aref Rayess, but also the Lucy Tutunian gallery, the epreuve d’artiste gallery of Amal Traboulsi and Odile Mazloum’s Alwane gallery. Alongside painting, Emile Hannouche also collected, amongst other things, archaeology icons (especially Melkite), Japanese prints and Islamic art.

a glimpse from the early years

Our History

A Strategic location from the early years of the 20th century

After the paving of the Damascus road, Chtaura became a passage for all travelers coming from Syria or from the holy sites of Palestine. Chtaura became a strategic site which rapidly developed a rich infrastructure of hotels, restaurants, banks and commercial activities. It was in 1920 that Augustin Gallonier, a French military officer, and his wife Yvonne decided to build their home in Chtaura. The house blends numerous influences under an Italian predominance, and was at the time of its construction a model of a certain modernity. Built in a non-urbanized area, surrounded by beautiful gardens, the residency soon became a halt-relay, the « Restaurant de Beyrouth et de Damas », much prized by many of the public figures that were architects of the French protectorate.

Casino Hannouche

Melhem Hannouche, Emile’s father, acquired the property in 1948 at the moment of Lebanon’s independence. He created a casino whose success grew and grew. The magnificent gardens surrounding the property contributed to the site’s reputation. In 1975 the Hannouches fled their home due to the civil war by returned to the house only in 1976 to find it pillaged and having narrowly escaped being burnt to the ground. The Hannouche family moved back in and the casino resumed its activities which continue to this day.

Inauguration of the Emile Hannouche Museum

The inauguration of the Emile Hannouche Museum in Chtaura took place on 22 September 2017 and showcased the Modern art collection of a man as quiet yet brimming with fascinating anecdotes of how his collection came to be. Emile decided to share his beloved collection of over 900 Lebanese paintings and unique Melkite pieces. The high-ceilinged walls of the museum are draped with Hannouche’s art collection. The pieces hang side by side in a 19 th century style, and allow the observer to view and compare the paintings simultaneously, while telling a story of evolution of art throughout time.

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