Cafesjian Center for the Arts   »   Exhibitions   »   Gevorg Grigorian GIOTTO

Eagle Gallery

Gevorg Grigorian GIOTTO

November 25, 2017 – February 25, 2018
This exhibition Gevorg Grigorian GIOTTO aims, indeed, at a comprehensive presentation of Gevorg Grigorian’s (1897-1976) art. In the case of an artist who has become a classic in a certain sense and enjoys a stable position in art history, a number of challenges—above all the issue of avoiding repetition—arise. However, it is always possible to disclose new horizons, and in the case of Giotto, those horizons are associated with never exhibited or less known works; first of all, graphic works. Those layers reveal the hidden sources of Giotto’s aesthetic thinking. The exhibition, being retrospective, is aimed at revealing Gevorg Grigorian from the perspective that has not been in circulation before. 

The 1920s were important for Giotto especially with his studies at Vkhutemas, which had a great impact on his aesthetic perception. The artist’s particular attitude towards old masters is already noticeable in this period. He received his preliminary art education at the School of Painting and Sculpture of the Caucasian Society for Promotion of Fine Arts in Tiflis, where his teachers were renowned Armenian painter Yeghishe Tadevosyan, as well as Russian artists Boris Fogel and Oscar Schmerling. In Moscow he studied under Lyubov Popova’s supervision. In his works of the 1920-30s, presented in this exhibition, the existence of a synthesis between Armenian fine arts, old classic masters, and new Soviet art, filled with revolutionary moods, is clearly visible.

From the second half of the 1930s to the end of the 1950s, Gevorg Grigorian suffered a setback in his creativity. He was expelled from the Artists’ Union of Georgia for many years, while his dramatic works were very negatively labeled: they “were not socialist,” “were not optimistic,” and “did not correspond to the spirit of the revolution.” During this time, he underwent a severe depression and burned many of his works. Not surprisingly, the dates of most paintings in this exhibition start from 1957 onwards.

This fruitful creative stage of the artist coincided with his move to Yerevan in 1962 along his wife Diana Ukleba Grigorian. Especially through the works created in those years, it may be judged how Grigorian is different as a graphic artist. His graphic works differ both by their wider chromatic spectrum and the dynamics of composition. This was already noticeable in the early period, but the difference became more significant in the late creative period. Topics and genres are more diverse in the graphic works, while compositional and color solutions are more courageous.

This exhibition organized by the Cafesjian Center for the Arts through the inter-museum cooperation program with the National Gallery of Armenia (NGA) and NGA branch Gevorg Grigorian (Giotto) Studio-museum gives the possibility to see and discover Gevorg Grigorian in a new way. Perhaps Giotto’s real “self” is hidden in the difference between his graphic and painting works. The exhibition Gevorg Grigorian GIOTTO is aimed at finding the answer to this question.

Exhibition Catalog

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