THIS WEEK IN ARMENIAN HISTORY
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Death of Panos Terlemezian
(April 30, 1941)
Many Armenian intellectuals were also involved in the movement of national liberation at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Painter Panos Terlemezian was one of them.
He was born in Aygestan, the Armenian suburb of the city of Van, on March 3, 1865. His father was a farmer. After studying at the elementary school, he attended the Van Central College (1881-1886), which he graduated with honors. He became a teacher, while at the same time he joined the first Armenian political party, the Armenagan Organization, founded in 1885.
His political activities attracted the attention of the Turkish government, which tried him in absentia. In 1893 he escaped to Persia and later to Tiflis, in the Russian Empire. After working for a while there, he 1895 he moved to St. Petersburg, where he entered the school of the Art Society. The Turkish government had him imprisoned in 1897 and sent to prison in Tiflis and then in Yerevan, from where he was exiled to Persia. In 1898 he clandestinely traveled to Paris and entered the Académie Julian in 1899. He graduated in 1904, when he won the first prize for his works in the academy’s exhibition. His work “The Entrance of the Monastery of Sanahin” (1904) won the gold medal of an all-European exhibition in Munich (Germany).
After living and creating in Armenia between 1905 and 1908, he returned to Paris for the next two years. In 1910 he moved to Constantinople, where he lived and exhibited until 1913, when he returned to Van. He was one of the seven members of the military authority that led the successful self-defense of Van in April-May 1915 and allowed some 200,000 Armenians of the town and the environment to save their lives. After the evacuation of the town and the emigration of the population towards the Caucasus, he settled in Tiflis, where he participated in the organization of the Union of Armenian Artists.
After the end of the war, Terlemezian lived again on the move. He was in Constantinople, Italy and France between 1919 and 1922, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the United States, where he lived for the next five years, always painting and giving exhibitions. Finally, in 1928 he settled in Soviet Armenia, where he continued producing landscapes, a genre where he excelled, and portraits of celebrated Armenians. He received the title of People’s Artist in 1935. He passed away on April 30, 1941. The Art School (now Art College) of Yerevan bears his name.