Emile Hannouche was born and raised in Chtaura, a charming town found in the center of Bekaa’s fertile valley. During his early years, when Lebanon had just gained its independence, Emile’s father Melhem Hannouche acquired a magnificent building known today as the Hannouche Casino and Restaurant.
The restaurant was surrounded by magnificent gardens and became a popular spot over the years. Today, Emile Hannouche remains attached to the property and to the town itself.
Emile’s journey through the arts
As a young boy, Emile was befriended by the prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Abdallah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, whose home was not far from the Hannouche residence. The prince took a liking to Emile, and gradually introduced him to the world of art.
Since then, Emile’s interest in historic and modern paintings blossomed. The Sursock family, who were also frequent guests at the Hannouche Casino and Restaurant, inspired Emile to appreciate decorative and Islamic art. Emile soon became a collector of modern and historic paintings, and purchased his first painting by Paul Guiragossian, an Armenian-Lebanese painter.
Emile has continued to collect art pieces from artists he has met, including Saliba Douaihy, Jean Khalife, Helen Khal, Shaffic Abboud, Seta Manoukian and many others. He has also obtained works from individual collectors who, contrary to Emile, showed a preference to Western art. His collection includes a wide range of archeological artifacts, Melkite items, Japanese prints and Islamic art.
The Emile Hannouche Museum
Emile decided to share his beloved collection of over 900 Lebanese paintings and unique Melkite pieces by opening the Emile Hannouche Museum. 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.
His love for Lebanese art and for his hometown is symbolized through his truly exquisite collection. The inauguration of the Emile Hannouche Museum in Chtaura took place on 22 September 2017 and is open to visitors from Wednesday to Friday.
For more details contact 08 540163/03 380037.