So far, BeMa’s Collection is composed of three separate loan collections, which together provide a comprehensive overview of Modern and Contemporary Lebanese art.
The first, a collection promised by the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, makes up the vast majority of the works given to the museum and consists of over 2300 paintings and works on paper, most of which are Modern, but which also include a number of Contemporary and 19th Century pieces.
The second, a collection of 700 paintings and works on paper belonging to the KA (Abraham Karabajakian and Roger Akoury) Collection, covers a range of Modern and Contemporary artists including Paul Guiragossian, Shafic Abboud, Helen Khal and Ziad Antar.
The third, a collection of approximately 150 pieces including paintings, works on paper, artist sketchbooks and sculptures, belongs to the collection of Claude Lemand and come to Beirut from Paris.
Many of the pieces from the Lebanese Ministry of Culture Collection have suffered from damage and require restoration. BeMA’s agreement with the Ministry requires the restoration and conservation of the works chosen for exhibit at the Museum.
The conservator in charge of this undertaking is Kerstin Khalife. She will be responsible for restoring 400 of the most important pieces in the collection over the course of the next four years. This will be done in partnership with the Department of Restoration of Paintings and Sculptures of the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart and the project will include the training of Lebanese students in restoration studies. Funding for the restoration laboratory was secured through a grant from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Middle Eastern art, which is also part of the Museum’s remit, will eventually feature in the Collection but for the moment, that collection is still being built.