Nazem Al Jaafari (Arabic: ناظم الجعفري) (born 1918 in Damascus, Syria) is considered the founder of impressionism in Syria. Al-Jaafari studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo between 1944–1947, after which he returned to Syria and worked as an art instructor for high school students, then moved to teach at the Faculty of Fine Arts upon its opening in 1960 in Damascus One of his greatest achievements as an artist is the documentation of the old quarters of Damascus as it existed at the turn of the twentieth century, subjects included Architecture, lifestyles, designs, and fashion.His body of work consists of over 7000 portrays — all still part of the artist’s collection as he rarely sells his work. Nazem Al Jaafari was one of the pioneer impressionists of Syrian painting. Impressionism remained the most popular style in Syria both before and after the Second World War. Al Jaafari was a recluse and seldom sold any of his work because he was hoping the state would build a museum devoted to him. His work was eventually collected by the Museum of Damascus and in by several private collectors. Recently diminutive number of his works was auctioned at Bohnam's Dubai in 2008 and at Ayyam Auctions in 2010 (Beirut).BiographyPortraitist Nazem Aljaafari …. Who is He?Nazem Aljaafari was born in 1918, of Arab parents.When I was in the fourth grade I admired my drawing teacher, Mr. Shawki Jamal. His works were hung on the walls of the school.In the sixth grade I achieved the highest score in the Drawing and Decoration class. That score had never been exceeded. My teacher was Mr. George Khoury.During the academic year of 1934-1935, my financial situation had led me to believe that I could never study and specialize abroad. At home the Art of Portraying has had no past and no future. The way is very long and hard.In 1936, when I was a student, I stepped into the field through my commercial drawings, and soon I began to make my way. In 1940, I left Damascus for the first time, my destination was Turkey, to visit the Izmir International Fair. There, my horizon widened.In 1941, I wanted to study Art in Turkey. As World War II had begun I was forced to leave the country and all of my material goods. This tragedy prevented my dream of studying Art in Turkey from becoming a reality.In 1942, In partnership with two other artists, I opened a studio called “Veronaise Studio”. It was located near the “Seven Lakes Square” in Damascus. Here we began our Art and for the first time faced the living model. Each of us would paint the model and the model would choose to keep the painting he most admired. The model we painted chose to keep mine.In 1943, I left for Cairo to attend “the Higher School for Fine Arts”. With what I had saved during my work in the commercial drawings. I was able to support my self.In 1947, I graduated with a BA in Arts; my specialization was in the Art of “Portraiture”.In 1948, I was appointed to the city of Damascus secondary schools.In 1949, I launched my first exhibition at the American Information Office In Damascus.In 1950, I traveled to Baghdad as part of a delegation of teachers. While there, we toured all about the country of Iraq.In 1951, I traveled to Izmir International Fair for the second time and toured in several towns and cities in Turkey.In 1953, I traveled to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. I also toured some Italian, Spanish, and Senegal cities.In 1953, I launched my second exhibition at the Syrian Embassy in Rio de- Janeiro in celebration of the presidential elections of the Syrian Republic.In 1953, I launched my third exhibition at the National Museum in Rio de- Janeiro in Brazil.In 1954, I set up my fourth exhibition at the Homsi Club in São Paulo, Brazil.In 1955, I launched my fifth exhibition at the Party Hall in the Layick Institute in Damascus now called “Albassel”.In 1957, I traveled to Moscow for the sixth annul Youth Festival. My work was displayed as part of the Syrian exhibition. The Soviet Technical Committee acquired one of my paintings, which is called “Alkudaria”. It is a painting of one of the old quarters of the city of Damascus.In 1959, I launched my sixth exhibition at the Social Circle Association in Damascus. In 1960, I won the gold medal at the Syrian Fair in Cairo, Egypt. The Fair was held in order to allow the citizens of Egypt an opportunity to realize the extent of Syrian artistic abilities.In 1960, I, by invitation of the government of Bulgaria, launched my seventh exhibition at the Engraving Hall in Sofia. While there, I toured through the cities of that country.In 1960, I launched my eighth exhibition in the Damascus National Museum. I filled its ten halls with 314 portraits; this was the first time that such a multitude of work had been exhibited there.In 1960, the College of Fine Arts opened in Damascus. I was selected to be the first head of the paint and portraying department.In 1964, I launched my ninth exhibition at my studio in Baghdad St. No. 14.In 1964, I received a medal from the International Stamp Festival, which was held in Paris, France.In 1966, I launched my tenth exhibition in the Damascus National Museum.In 1967, I left for New York to launch my eleventh exhibition. On my Journey, I toured Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Canadian cities. unfortunate political developments prevented the realization of this exhibition.In 1968, I resigned from the college of Fine Arts in Damascus. I then began portraying the ancient Damascus City.In 1969, my eleventh exhibition was opened at the Teachers Association in Damascus.In 1972, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted me a six months visit in which to study their museums.In 1974, I launched my twelfth exhibition at my Damascus home.In 1975, I was invited to Bulgaria for the second time to launch my thirteenth exhibition.In 1976, I was invited by Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to launch my fourteenth exhibition at the French Cultural Center in Amman.In 1977, I was invited to Alrikkah(a town in the northern part of Syria) to display my fifteenth exhibition.In 1980, I launched my sixteenth exhibition at my studio in Baghdad St. in Damascus.In 1986, under the patronage of the Society of Damascus Friends my seventeenth exhibition was opened at the Palace of Khaled Alazem in Damascus.In 1989, my work was displayed at Jarrells Galleries in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States.In 1990, my work was exhibited at Spirit Square Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina, United StatesIn 1995, Jubran Khalil Jubran International Appreciation Medal was awarded to me by the Arabic Heritage League in Sydney, Australia.1995-2002, During this period I made several visits to the United States and Kuwait where I achieved a collection of more than 150 portrays mostly in the U.S reflecting Land Marks, natural scenes and cultural highlights.In 2005, The Cultural Minister opened my seventeenth exhibition at theNational Museum in Damascus, Syria. Simultaneously, my autobiography was released under the patronage of the ministry In 2007, My eighteenth exhibit was opened at the Arabic Cultural Center in Damascus, Syria.In 2008, the portray survey of old Damascus still continue and the collection consist now of more than 7000 portrays.I was determined, through many interviews with local and international magazines/T.V. stations to be the owner of the most colossal collection of artistic portraits in Syria.