THIS WEEK IN ARMENIAN HISTORY
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)
Death of Yeghishe Tadeosian (January 22, 1936)
Yeghishe Tadeosian was a talented painter of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He was born on September 12, 1870 in Vagharshapat. He studied in the Ter Hakobian pension of Tiflis from 1879-1881 and then at the Lazarian Lyceum of Moscow (1881-1885). Afterwards he
entered the School of Fine Arts, Sculpture, and Architecture of Moscow, where he was a student of Russian influential painters Vladimir Makovsky (1846-1920) and Vasily Polenov (1844-1927).
After graduation in 1894, Tadeosian returned to Armenia and taught for a year at the Kevorkian Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1896 he returned to Moscow and participated in the 24th salon of the Peredvizhniki (“The Wanderers”), a group of realist painters to which his teachers Makovsky and Polenov were affiliated. The budding artist won two prizes in 1898 at the competition of the Society of Artists of Moscow for his paintings “Midday Meal” and “Preaching to the Right Believers.” He traveled to Palestine with his mentor Polenov in 1898 and, later, almost every day traveled through the Middle East and Europe (until 1914), Russia, and Armenia, which became the source for his art.
The painter settled in Tiflis in 1901 and was a member of the literary and artistic group “Ikar,” founded in 1907. He participated in the exhibitions of the “classical period” of the avant-garde group Mir isskustva (“World of Art”), and its successor, the Union of Russian Artists, until 1910. He collaborated with the foundation of the Union of Armenian Artists in Tiflis (1916) and was elected as its chairman.
Tadeosian organized the exhibition of the Union of Armenian Artists in Yerevan (1921) and two years later, he was one of the founders and first professors of the Academy of Fine Arts of Georgia. In 1935 he was bestowed the title of Emeritus Worker of Art of Soviet Armenia.
In his works of the 1890s and 1900s, Tadeosian showed some trends close to impressionism, although he remained essentially a realist painter. He tried many varieties of plastic art, including mosaic, small sculptures, and stage decoration. He was a master of portrait and landscape. He also touched the subject of the Armenian massacres, as well as traditions and historical past.
He passed away on January 22, 1936 in Tiflis. His body was later moved to Yerevan, where a street bears his name, and was buried in the Pantheon, the cemetery of cultural and political figures situated near Gomidas Park. His tombstone offers a unique piece of trivia: for some reason, the name of the painter has been written as «Եղիշէ Թադէոսեան» (Yeghishe Tadeosian), in Classical Armenian spelling, even though his name should have been «Եղիշե Թադեւոսյան» (Yeghishe Tadevosyan) in Soviet Armenian spelling. One may only wonder how this happened and how the writing escaped the attention of Soviet Armenian censors.