Eduard Issabekian-100 (Ararat Aghasyan) arm., eng., – Y., 2014

Posted on Apr 17, 2019 in Uncategorized_en



People’s Artist of the Armenian SSR (1963), State Prize Winner (1985), knight of the ‘Mesrop Mashtots’ and the ‘Saint Sahak-Saint Mesrop’ medals of the RA (2001, 2004) and an Honorary Citizen of Yerevan (2002) Eduard Issabekian occupies an important position within the history of  Armenian visual arts of the previous century. The artist was born on November 8, 1914 in Igdir, Surmalu district of Yerevan province.
During his long and prolific artistic career that spanned around 70 years, he created hundreds of paintings and drawings of high artistic value and masterly execution.
Many of Issabekian’s best oeuvres are characterized by complex and dynamic composition, fresh and saturated palette, tangible bold impasto brushstrokes and expressive force of plastic lines.
The artist’s most engaging works express vigor, romanticism and lively rendering of the sitters, common perception of nature and environment, deep ideas and modern concerns, patriotic and civil inspirations. They reflect Issabekian’s restless, free and honest, sometimes vigorous and non-conformist temper, inborn character, penetrating glance, artistic quests and imaginations.
Broadly speaking, Eduard Issabekian’s art is based on the traditions of Realism, European Classicism, as well as on the realistic principles of Russian and Armenian new painting, which he studied, adopted and rendered in his unique manner, accepted fearlessly innovative tendencies of world art, thus expanding the confines of Realism.
Eduard Issabekian’s art recognizes no limits in ideological and figural expression, genre and subject matter; it is broad and multifaceted. Though most of the pieces, that won the artist critical acclaim putting him among the classics during his lifetime, were thematic compositions: battle scenes, large-scale often multifigure compositions derived from mythological, historical and revolutionary subjects, the artist’s legacy equally includes a large number of other painting genres: genre scenes, landscapes, portraits and still lifes, female nudes and figures, horses and horsemen, allegories and illustrations for literary pieces: historical novels and poems…
Eduard Issabekian made his first steps in art and experimented in painting when still a student. After graduating from Yerevan Fine Arts and Industrial college ‘Geghard’ (now State Fine Arts College after Panos Terlemezian)1, he was admitted to Tiflis Fine Arts Academy, first drawing department, later painting department (1935-1941), where he received complete academic education2.
Acquaintance with Alexander Bazhbeuk-Melikian and the latter’s canvases executed in the manner of Venitian Old Msters loomed large in the formation of Isabekian’s artistic taste and orientation in art. Encounter with Rubens, Gericault and Delacroix, the major representatives of European Baroque and Rococo in the museums of Moscow and Leningrad (Saint Petersburg), had more significant influence on young Armenian artist, leaving unforgettable impressions. It is most evident in both student pieces as well as several works created during the Great Patriotic War, such as: Issabekian’s self-portraits (1939, 1943, 1944); small-scale pieces In Western Armenia (1940), 11th Red Army Entering Yerevan (1940), Red Guards in an Armenian Village (1941), Abduction (1941), as well as large compositions Tanya (1942, first version), Liberation of the Town (Fight for the Town, 1942). Subject matter, characters, horizontal, vertical and diagonal composition solutions, the sense of movement, dense colors and anxious linear rhythm of these works make allusion to Rubens’ many abductions and hunting scenes; Gericault’s unbridled horses, horsemen and horseraces; Delacroix’s self-portraits, African series and The Massacre at Chios canvases.
Prominent art critic Ruben Drambian could not disregard this fact. Referring to the artist’s first solo exhibition opened in Yerevan in 1947, where he praised the aspiring artist’s inborn talent and professionalism, Drambian noticed that the influence of the Old Masters ‘often dominated and seemed too dangerous for the artist’s further growth’3. He then concluded with content, ‘Today I am pleased to witness the artist’s liberation from such reliance in his recent works, mainly because  Isabekian paints much from life, creates portraits, landscapes, still lifes, thus shaping his attitude towards the images depicted’4. Indeed, from mid 1940s, apparent influence of Flemish Baroque and French Romanticism gradually diminished in Isabekian’s works. The necessity and practice of painting from life in various genres, persistent study of life and environment rendered into palpable forms, executed in natural colors and hues, in fact contributed to transformations in his art during those years5.
Reconsidering his previous aesthetic and artistic vision and principles, learning not only from Rubens, Delacroix, but also from Titian, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Goya, Courbet, as well as Ilya Repin, Vasily Surikov, Stepan Aghajanian, Eghishe Tadevossian, Sedrak Arakelian and others’ oeuvres, who laid the fundamentals of psycho-logical, social and critical realism in European, Russian and Armenian painting, Eduard Issabekian mastered their  artistic skills and created a personal vocabulary of artistic expression.
Sketches for a battle scene Davit Bek (1943-1946) and the second final version of Tanya (1947) marked the transition in the artist’s creativity. In the second version of Tanya, glorifying bravery of the young partisan Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and mourning her heroic death, Issabekian renounced theatrically exaggerated movements and gestures, which he had applied in the first version (the figure there related to Delacroix’s allegorical Liberty leading the people with uncovered breasts), removed congested details, reduced anxious play of colors and impressive effects that could generate distraction from the main character. Instead, the artist showed the reserve and reflective aspect of the sitter, achieved tangibility and dramatic effect through laconic artistic expression.
Tanya’s proud, luminous figure standing courageously on the scaffold dominates the composition and immediately strikes the eye by a sharp contrast with the hangmen’s gray military clothing. For its emotional and psychological impact, inner tragedy hidden beneath outward restrain, heroism and melancholy, the second version of Issabekian’s Tanya may certainly be on equal par with best canvases created during and shortly after the Great Patriotic War, as for example is Partisan’s Mother (1943) by Seigey Gerasimov.
A comparison between the work Davit Bek and the artist’s previous historical, revolutionary and battle scene pieces – including the large sketch for The Battle of Avarayr  (1948) – reveals that the artist applied muted and more natural palette in the sketches for this multifigure composition to restrain at times furious movements of the figures. He strictly divided these new thematic canvases into picture-planes; skillfully grouped, combined and united an entire scene or its separate fragments, human and animalistic figures; distinguished primary and secondary elements, underscored major features of the action and its ideological units.
A more convincing example of changes, ‘redefining of values’, augmenting realistic tendencies and their gradual adoption by the artist in 1940s, are life portraits of the artist’s mother Satenik Ghazaryan (1944, 1946). These works show the artist’s special attitude towards an elderly, fatigued woman, i.e. the son’s love and reverence for his mother. Executed in harmonious notes of ochers, blues and turquoise, simple outlines and forms, portraying the sitter in natural postures that reveal her psychological state, the abovementioned works seem to be the continuation of Courbet’s realistic traditions echoing the best canvases by the founder of Armenian realistic portraiture Stepan Aghajanyan.
Since 1950s until mid-1960s Issabekian developed an interest in Realism, reaching new heights. It was a period of artistic maturity. His style was finally brushed up and crystallized. The artist enjoyed enormous success with works that were inspired by historical, patriotic, revolutionary and mythological subjects. The public was introduced to medium and large-scale works, skillfully executed and highly finished: Khachatur Abovian at the Summit of Ararat, 1950; Revolt of Haghpat Villagers in 1903, 1955; Young Davit, 1956; Tatev Tragedy, 1960. The artist reverted to these subjects for years in search of new versions, creating numerous color and pencil preparatory sketches.
Portraits from life are characterized by psychological depth and energy of the sitters, revealing their character, facial features and expressions, poses and gestures (Abraham from Bjni, 1944; Old Man from Martuni, 1957; Master Movses, 1958; Portrait of the Artist’s Father, 1962; Self-portrait, 1964).
A panoramic view of native rocky landscape and the working man’s rooted ties with the land is presented in the monumental landscape Horovel, Plough in the Mountains (1954), executed in optimistic mood, rapid-fire brushwork, notes of blues, reds, greens and whites imbued with powerful sonority and a folk-song spirit.
Issabekian’s contribution to Armenian painting is enormous, especially in the genre of history painting. Continuing the traditions of his predecessors Vardges Sureniants, Eghishe Tadevossian, Sargis Khachaturian, Hakob Kojoyan and others, he set new boundaries and paved new ways.
Famous historical tableau Reply to Yazdegerd (1960) is seminal among the series of history paintings created from 1950s to 1960s. For its monumental scale and deep ideological content, complex compositional structure and realistic rendering, it alludes to the Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire (1891) by Ilya Repin, executed however in unique Issabekian style. Here the artist referred to one of the most crucial events in Armenia’s history. Before the Battle of Avarayr, in 499 a council was convened in Artashat presided by Catholicos Hovsep I Hoghotsmetsi, parti-cipating clergymen, ministers, commanders-in-chief, governors, philosophers and historians, who decided to respond to the Persian king Yazdegerd II, stating that Armenia would uphold Christianity and refused to admit the ultimatum of the Persian king to convert Armenian princes and people to Zoroastrianism. Isabekian did not interpret literally historic accounts by Eghishe in the Battle of Vardanants. The artist conveyed greater significance and freedom of artistic interpretation to this historic event. Issabekian did not distinguish particular historical figures and characters, such as Eznik of Kolb, Ghevont of Vanand, Eghishe, Vardan Mamikonian, Vasak of Syunik and others, the protagonist of the painting being the sublime patriotic idea that united the people regardless of social classes, age and gender. Demonstration of sincere national commit-ment mattered more for the artist than mere letter writing.
Like a seasoned stage director, Issabekian created a complete multifigure composition, arranging accurately key “actors” and figures, underscoring and connecting the centers of interest and descriptive details of the painting. Simultaneously, the artist imparted emotional intensity, romantic inspiration, grand patriotism and power to the scene, which seems restrained within artistic confines. Physical action of the crowded scene set under the church vaults unfurls beyond its walls and the frame of the canvas. Unity of the scene is achieved not only through compositional techniques, but also by turbulent play of color and chiaroscuro. Solemnity of the painting is enhanced by intense or at times restrained glittering of blues and reds, gold and whites. Distant sounds and echoes, mingled with the polyphony of this canvas reach us from the remote past. The artist’s desire to fit as many elements with the subject as possible seems to overburden the composition, intensify picture-planes and settings, creating a vacuum in the opaque air of the church. Nonetheless, the sense of unity within the artwork is maintained.
Along with thematic compositions created during these years, Isabekian had special regard to portraiture. The  artist often portrayed himself, producing a series of dazzling self-portraits, among them Self-portrait with a Palette Knife (1964): vigorous and angular, full of emotional and dramatic effect. The protagonists of portraits created during this period are of different age and gender, belonging to different social classes. Issabekian’s portraits comprise ‘dignified and chivalrous Apollos’ (Karen Smbatian) resembling the artist, as well as resplendent characters of young and old women, gray-headed and wrinkled old men… Portraits of old men reveal deep psychological and biographical depictions. Particularly, Abraham from Bjni (1944) and Master Movses (1958) are reminiscent of Rembrandt’s portrayals of old men and his late period self-portraits with typical reds, browns and gold-yellow tones, chiaroscuro and mystical silent settings.
From 1950s and 1960s onward, Issabekian created a gallery of portraits dedicated to great Armenian poets, artists and cultural elite of the past and present: Mesrop Mashtots, Sayat-Nova, Khachatur Abovian, Raffi, Komitas, Avetik Issahakian, Derenik Demirchian and others.  A remarkable piece from this series is the Portrait of Aksel Bakunts (1960), which albeit its small scale, gives a magnificent impression, transcending the limits of portraiture. This is the writer’s second portrait painted from life after a 1932 pastel painting by Panos Terlemezian, and first posthumous portrait in the history of Armenian visual arts. Depicted against a picturesque rocky background of native Goris, intertwined with nature that he praised much in his novels, the writer’s self-absorbing gaze shows us a glimpse of inner troubles, emotional turmoil and premonition. Issabekian achieved this effect and conveyed it to the viewer through the outlines of Bakunts’ static half-figure placed full length in the right of the pictorial space. The use of low viewpoint combined with the vertical format, as well as the interaction between brightly reflective and dark shadow areas, contrasting red and blue, as well as dramatic play of tones also enhance the effect.
Another two major portraits by Issabekian were executed simultaneously in 1964. They portray the father Hmayak Isabekian and the artist’s beloved wife and faithful friend, the painter Arpenik Nalbandian6. The latter was created under the impact of deep grief, poignant experience from loss of his wife, incorporated with fond memories and tender feelings at the same time. The abovementioned works feature a large canvas The Old Man’s Morning and a medium sized painting Peace7.
The Old Man’s Morning, albeit its utterly different color palette, idea and subject matter, relates to the portrait of Aksel Bakunts by its vertical composition, low viewpoint, and the figure’s relation to space and picture planes. Depicted full length in the right, in a brown raincoat with a string bag in his hand, plodding along with his walking stick, the figure of the gray-haired old man in profile view – against the contours of a cloudy spring sky streaked with the rays of the sun – dominates over the city in the background, which stretches to the horizon. The city seems to be turned into a building site with construction underway. The piece echoes another portrait dated 1962. Permeated with optimism, this painting in gold and yellow modulations reflects the interchange of old and new, generation change, the cycle of life and death, transience of time, life span, encounters and farewells, accomplish-ments and losses, longing and memory. Hellen Gayfejian noted, ‘Issabekian compares the new life with the past, which as the time goes by, becomes more valuable. However, the more priceless the artist’s burden of memory is, the less it can shake his determination to move forward as expressed in the cheerfully rendered piece The Morning of the Old Man8’.
A recurring character in Isabekian’s art is Arpenik Nalbandian. Among the series of paintings and drawings made from life and posthumously, the Peace (In Nature) is worth a mention. Unusual treatment of the sitter is considered the artist’s one of the most lyrical and emotional works imbued with innermost feelings. Diagonally pictured body of the beautiful young woman in transparent sky blue shirt, sleeping under invisible shadows of trees in a yellow ochre setting of a garden or a riverside, create a pastoral elegiac mood intertwined with dreams and distant memories. Such effect is achieved through the azure, peacock blue, gray and white tonality rendered with soft, feathery brushstrokes. Issabkian’s Peace resembles a visual tone poem in the silent setting of the painting. Reality and fantasy, dreams and memories, past and present mingle here; and in the guise of portraiture and genre painting the work acquires allegorical meaning as well.
The Peace marked a turning point in the artist’s further works, determining the choice of characters and subject matter, as well as artistic expressive means.
It was a very prolific period in Issabekian’s art. Known for his assiduity and rapid pace (when still a student, he was trained in fast sketching), the artist painted more enthusiastically, producing many highly finished works, hundreds of studies and preparatory sketches. Strive to communicate his creative ideas to canvas and paper without wasting time, made the artist work simultaneously on several paintings and drawings.
The artist, whose art once dominated by monumental history paintings permeated with romanticism, solemn theatricality, movement and energy, now preferred medium and small scale works with intimate motifs and imagery full of wistfulness and expectations, melancholy and deeply felt emotions, inner tragedy hidden beneath outward restrain.
During this period Issabekian occasionally recurred to historical, mythological and biblical subjects and motifs (Samson and Delilah, 1972; Cleansing of the Temple, 1978, Artavazd and Cleopatra 1980; Twilight, 1981; The Battle of Avarayr, 1983; Farewell, 1983; Noah with His Sons, 1985), dreadful scenes of the Armenian Genocide (1915; Perpetual Anxiety, 1968) and the painful memories of the Great Patriotic War (They Did Not Return, 1965). Though in rare cases the artist showed a predilection for the French Romanticism, with Delacroix regaining his influence over him, in thematic compositions the artist emphasized motionless scenes, emotional intensity and mood rather than painting’s energy and movement. The titles given to several works prove the point: They Did Not Return, Twilight, Farewell, Perpetual Anxiety
Most of these pieces were created according to the principles of psychological realism rather than Romanticism. No wonder that the viewer, having discovered several works, as well as portraits created during this period, recalls famous pieces by Rembrandt. First of all it refers to the Artavazd and Cleopatra and to one of its variants (1983). Mystical silence and still ambience of the piece enhanced by light-and-shade effect, combined with red, brown, gold and yellow tones suggest that while working on these pieces, Issabekian drew inspiration from Rembrandt’s great canvas Ahasveros and Haman at the Feast of Esther (1660) at the Pushkin Museum, Moscow.
Alongside historical compositions in oil and pencil of the same period, Isabekian created works in various genres, which assert his artistic mastery, former and pre-sent creative preferences, desire to formulate new, unusual solutions to artistic problems and subjects’ treatment, render diverse emotional and psychological conditions, explore patriotic and universal ideas, and express “dialogues” between man, his environment and nature.
A great number of works, created during this and later years, include intimate groups and single figures, group portraits and self-portraits (Arpenik, 1967; Hasmik, 1969; New Year Candles, the Artist’s Grandchildren, 1980; My Mother and Me, 1983; Self-portrait, 1975, 1984; Cheers! 1999); cheerful rural scenes, real and fancy imagery of open-air festivities and promenades reminiscent of Antoine Watteau’s fêtes galantes and Claude Monet’s dejeuners (Evening in the Garden, 1980; Luncheon by the Riverside, 1981; Open-air Performance, 1981; Picnic, 1984); allegorical, almost symbolic compositions (The PartingWoman,1964; Mind Your Step, 1969; Sevan, Allegory, 1970; Morning, 1981)…
For its subject-matter, composition, as well as  allegorical meaning and poetic vision, the Morning, alongside an unfinished study in oil The Girl and the Youth  (1964), is as engaging as the work Awakening (1963) by Sargis Mouradian, one of the most gifted students of Issabekian9.
Since 1970s picturesque scenes of Armenian nature are recurring in Issabekian’s art. These include small-scale landscape studies of Ashtarak, Sevan, Byurakan, Khndzoresk, Goris, Bjni, Alaverdi and Tatev (Kasakh Flooding, 1969; Autumn Oleaster, 1975; Rosehip in the Rocks, 1976; Alaverdi, 1980; Bjni, 1982; Byurakan, Riverside, 1990),    real and fancy figures of bathing women and nudes (Girls at the Beach. Sevan, 1967; Model, 1970; Bathing Women, 1975; In the Pool, 1980; In the Studio, 1981), and the series of Disquieting Horses (1974-1975) executed in expressive linear and painterly style and romantic inspirations.
Nature has always fascinated the artist, who incor-porated it in the majority of his canvases and portraits. The abovementioned landscapes express his innermost feelings toward nature, its savage and intact beauty. They are reminiscent of pantheistic, lyrical, often dramatic poems written by the artist’s friends and contemporaries, especially those by the poet Hamo Sahian.
In general however, few landscapes from the same period were produced under the influence of a certain artistic impression or effect, as for example Ashtarak at Night, 1976, which alludes to El Greco’s famous night landscape View of Toledo (1614).
By liberating his painting from descriptive and narrative details, Issabekian placed prime importance on the expressive language of line, color and volume. His palette became more saturated, luminous and pure, juxtaposing balanced hues of whites, blues, greens and reds with strong colors. The artist created thick texture with large and small brushes, palette knives, and even fingers. Keeping in mind the main principles and approaches of Classical Realism and academic painting, Issabekian adopted certain innovative elements of contemporary art, digested its stylistic devices and techniques, and applied those in his art, which conveyed an air of modernity to his works. Following the fauvists, cubists and especially the expressionists, Issabekian distorted real forms and carried to extremes natural colors. This was not a mere formalist approach; the artist strived to achieve deep psychological emotionality of his sitters permitting greater impact. In the works of this period, drawing achieved exceptional 3-D plastic effects and tension. Throughout his artistic career, Issabekian demonstrated broad mastery of drawing technique in painting, as well as in polychrome and monochrome plates executed in watercolor, pastel, conte crayon, pencils, etc., also in illustrations for historical novels Vardanank by Derenik Demirchian, Mkhitar Sparapet by Sero Khanzadian, Hovhannes Toumanian’s The Capture of Tmkaberd poem and David of Sassoun national epic.
Nude and figures of naked women held less sway in the Armenian visual arts before Eduard Issabekian. Unlike Armenian sculptors, few painters explored this genre. Excluding a few artworks by Vardges Sureniants, Vahram Gayfejian, Eastern and Western Armenia and Diaspora artists, ‘nudity’ was often portrayed only by Alexander Bazhbeuk-Melikian and Ervand Kochar, who Issabekian knew personally and had written articles on their art10.
Issabekian’s young mature female characters, as well as nudes by Bazhbeuk-Melikian and Kochar are far from the portrayal of earthly divine beauties and goddesses with slender figures and ideal proportions by Antique Greek or Renaissance masters Botticelli, Giorgione, Titian and others. Isabekian portrayed robust Oriental and Armenian women of medium height, with magnificent bosom and rounded hips depicted in postures and poses expressing femininity and charm. At the same time, they bear likeness to Rubenesque full-figured women on the one hand and Gauguin’s Tahitian female figures on the other.
The artist’s muses are depicted in real-life postures and settings: in nature, in the interior of the artist’s luminous or obscure studio and/or flat; bathing or after bath, at rest, at a dressing table, talking or in silence… The artist portrayed them in various, most complex foreshortenings, showing full face, back, profile and three-quarter views, illustrating his knowledge of anatomy and an outstanding skill to create 3-dimensional forms and spatial illusion through drawing. Issabekian was eager to depict both women’s physical sensitivity and spiritual beauty. By emphasizing ‘celestial’ traits of his models: innocence, virtue, obedience, etc., he also revealed the dark side of their character: self-interest, intrigue, lust…
As to the series Disquieting Horses, the influence of French romantics is traced again. However, the artist imparted more intense linear rhythm here and achieved extreme density of colors. The horses of this series represent symbolic, allegorical meaning; they stand for opposing forces of the human soul. In this regard, Issabekian’s disquieting horses are as expressive and impactful as the unbridled horses permeated with romanticism by Rouben Adalian, another gifted student of the artist.
At the twilight of his life, Isabekian worked cease-lessly on a large canvas dedicated to his lost birthplace Igdir, which alas was left unfinished. Unlike other works dedicated to Igdir – Igdirian Breakfast (1980) or the Wedding Procession from Koghb to Igdir (1987) – this artwork (also known as A Funeral at Igdir; Funeral or The Greats of Igdir) is considered unique in the Armenian visual arts for its diverse genre features and monumentality. The title, as well as the artistic idea, chosen motif and compositional structure denote evident similarity with Gustave Courbet’s major, giant scale painting A Burial at Ornans (A Funeral at Ornans, 1849). The artist recurred to this piece11 in the essay dedicated to Aksel Bakunts, Gardeners Will Always Be!
This is a group portrait made from life and memories depicting around fifty human figures: men, women and children, Igdir-born intelligentsia, clergy, cultural elite, statesmen and servicemen, national heroes and fighters, the artist’s relatives and family members, as well as the artist himself, portrayed against the background of Mount Ararat and Armenian church, with two angels hovering above their heads and giving blessing on them.
The two angels incorporated in the piece, as well as strictly regular composition, equal placement of people’s heads and bodies attest to Issabekian’s use of traditions of Medieval Armenian painting. A Funeral at Igdir, albeit incomplete, leaves a huge impact and marks the completion of the artist’s rich creativity nourished from his homeland, permeated with distinctive national traits and lasting artistic values.
In parallel with painting, Eduard Issabekian engaged in literature. Other than articles and essays dedicated to Hakob Kojoyan, Alezander Bazhbeuk-Melikian, Ervand Kochar, Lado Gudiashvili, Aksel Bakunts and contem-porary Armenian poets, he wrote numerous poems that were never published. In 2009, an autobiographical unfinished novel Igdir was published, notable for refined literary language, seasoned with lively colloquialism. Imbued with melancholy, sorrow, as well as warm feelings and humor, the memoir is full of unforgettable childhood memories, familiar faces and beautiful imagery. No wonder that the book became popular among booklovers as a remarkable example of the memoir.
Eduard Issabekian was not only a merited artist and a gifted writer, but also an active public and cultural figure and an outstanding pedagogue. He had been the director of the State Gallery of Armenia (now the National Gallery of Armenia) for 20 years, enriching its art storages, expanding exhibition spaces, opening branches in Etchmiadzin, Jermuk, Hrazdan, Vanadzor, Gyumri, Martuni and Yegheg-nadzor; contributing to founding house museums of Hakob Kojoyan, Ara Sargsyan and Minas Avetisyan. From the establishment of Yerevan Fine Arts Institute (now Yerevan State Fine Arts Academy) in 1945 onward, lectured as a professor (since 1963) of painting and composition, educated and trained several generations of Armenian painters. Among his students are well-known masters Mkrtich Sedrakian, Zakar Khachatrian, Levon Kojoyan, Grigor Khanjian, Alexander Grigorian, Sargis Mouradian, Nikolay Kotanjian, Rouben Adalian and others, who continued their mentor’s commandment in their own artistic vision. Also, Eduard Issabekian had been appointed a Life Honorary Chairman of Igdir Compatriotic Union.
As a member of Armenian artists’ union since 1941 onward, Eduard Issabekian had solo exhibitions in Yerevan, Tbilisi, Moscow, Rabat (Morocco), Aleppo (Syria), Los Angeles (USA) and elsewhere; participated in a number of republican, all-union and international exhi-bitions in Armenia, former Soviet Republic and abroad. Many of his artworks are kept and exhibited in state museums, galleries and private collections in Armenia, CIS and abroad.
Eduard Issabekian passed away on 17 August, 2007 in Ashtarak. The artist is buried in the Park after Komitas and Pantheon with the Armenian greats. In 2013 May 3, after six years of the artist’s death, ‘Eduard Issabekian’ picture gallery opened on the first floor of ‘Hay Art’ cultural center. The artist’s 28 paintings formed the core of the collection, donated by his youngest son, the painter, Honored Art Worker of the RA and the Rector of Yerevan State Fine Arts Academy Aram Issabekian.


Professor of Art History
Honored Art Worker of the RA



1 Vahram Gaifejian, Sedrak Arakelian and Gohar Fermanian taught the artist painting and drawing at the college.

2The painters Joseph Sharleman, Konstantin (Kote) Gzeli-shvili, Ucha Japaridze, Sergei (Sergo) Kobuladze and the sculptor Valentin (Valiko) Topuridze were his professors at the Academy. As a diploma work, Issabekian presented The Demonstration of the Workers of Batumi in 1903 piece to the examination committee.

3 See Edward Issabekian (Author Martin Mikaelian), Yerevan, 2004, p. 24.

4 Ibid.

5 Note that in 1943 Issabekian served at the North Caucasian Front for a few months, where he produced numerous paintings of the 89th Infantry Rifle Division daily life full of difficulties, dangers and deadly threats mingled with unshakable willpower, faith and optimism.

6 Honored painter of the Armenian SSR Arpenik Nalbandian was the sister of famed Soviet artist, People’s Artist of the USSR, Hero of Socialist Labour Dmitri Nalbandian.

7 Years later, in 1976 Issabekian created the replica of the Peace, on view at the National Gallery of Armenia titled In Nature.

8 See Edward Issabekian (Author Martin Mikaelian), p. 193.

9 Eduard Issabekian and Sargis Mouradian were also relatives. The artist’s second wife Rosa Mouradian was the sister of Sargis Mouradian.

10 See Edward Issabekian, Our Rider // Soviet Art, 1960, N 3; Edward Issabekian, The Knight of Bronze Riders // Evening Yerevan, 17 January, 1976; Edward Issabekian, Alexander Bazhbeuk-Melikian // Nork, 2002, N 2.

11 See Edward Issabekian (Author Martin Mikaelian), p. 212.


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