European Artist of the Year, Andrew Vicari, who was famously christened "King of Painters, Painter of Kings" by Pierre Galante of Paris Match and dubbed "Marco Polo II" by the Chinese Ambassador in Paris, is making final preparations for a retrospective exhibition of 40 years of his work.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 26 Dec 2004, 3:27 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:33 AM

And for those who have always been fascinated by one of the world's most powerful painters, here's your chance to see both the artist and his work.

The Vicari Retrospective exhibition, under the patronage of Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan the Minister of Information and Culture, will take place at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation from January 9-31. The securing of the exhibition is the result of eight months of negotiations and two visits to Abu Dhabi by representatives of the Vicari Trust and one visit by Andrew Vicari as an invited guest of the government.

Vicari has taken painting to a new frontier and it was he who after 14 centuries of non-figurative Art set a precedent in Arabia by introducing the human figure into official Islamic Art.

The sixty works of "The Triumph of the Bedouin", commissioned by the King and Government of Saudi Arabia, took five years to complete and now adorn the prestigious King Faisal Conference Centre in Riyadh, one of the three museums devoted entirely to his work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

He has brought Eastern and Western culture closer together. In China, where adoring crowds acclaimed him "Great Master", he was invited by the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China to be the fourth occidental artist to exhibit in Beijing, his precursors being Rodin, Miro and Chagall. He was also the first western artist to be honoured by being officially invited to paint the great Chinese philosopher, Confucius. The exhibition included a triptych of portraits, including Confucius, Mao Tse Tung and the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, three of the most important figures in Chinese history.

In St Petersburg for the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city by Peter the Great, the Vicari "Vigonade of St Petersburg" celebrating the freedom of the city was unveiled in spectacular style. In front of an assembly of invited officials from a host of countries, including his friend the then Deputy Mayor Vladimir Putin, a portrait of the founder of communism was taken down by the Mayor, Anatoly Sobtchak, who exclaimed: "I am replacing Marx with VICARI".

From Riyadh to Geneva, from London to Washington, from Dallas to Hawaii, from St Petersburg to Beijing, his work has been universally acclaimed. He is even the official artist of the CRS (Compagnie Republicaine de Securite) in France. In addition, he is also the official artist of Interpol, where he has two large works on permanent display. These were especially commissioned for the inauguration of the Interpol World Headquarters in Lyons and unveiled at the opening ceremony in 1989 by the late President Francois Mitterrand.

Vicari's major opus "From War to Peace in the Gulf: The Liberation of Kuwait" is a collection of over 225 marvellous oil paintings, depicting battle scenes, as well as portraits of World Leaders, and is the largest work to be created since long before Napoleonic times.

Vicari left Paris for Riyadh on January 15, 1991, the day before the ultimatum given to Iraq by the international coalition, and went directly to the battlefronts to depict the scenes of the Gulf War for posterity. His genius in this particular branch of painting, which has never been rivalled, made Charles Freeman, US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, comment: "Vicari is the War's only official artist".

In October 1995 at the Concert House Castle in Karlsruhe, Germany, he was presented with the prestigious "Prix Europeen des Beaux Arts".

On December 5, 2000, Vicari unveiled in Paris his latest work, the large triptych "La Vigonade de la Victoire des Motards de la Police Nationale Francaise", at the French Ministry of the Interior by the Director General of the French National Police, Mr Patrice Bergougnoux, before a large assembly of French Police Chiefs, French notables and French Government officials. This large oil painting was commissioned to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the creation of FCMPN (the Motorcycle Police Force of France).

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