Cafesjian Center for the Arts   »   Exhibitions   »   Yerevan Collectors' Choice 3

Eagle Gallery

Yerevan Collectors' Choice 3

September 22, 2016 – December 25, 2016
The exhibition Yerevan Collectors' Choice 3: Boris Galstyan’s Collection: Minas, Vruyr, Deghdz Ashot implements part of the mission of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts: to present the best of Armenian culture to the world. The chronological scope of his entire art collection is rather broad, but he is mainly concentrated on the Armenian fine art of 1960s and 1970s, collecting artworks by the Soviet Armenian National Modernism artists.
Such names as Minas Avetisyan (1928-1975), Vruyr Galstyan (1924-1996) and Ashot Hovhannisyan (Deghdz Ashot, 1929-1997) clearly indicate the chronological and artistic parameters of the third exhibition in the Yerevan Collectors’ Choice series.
The 60s and 70s of the 20th century were crucial for the fine art of Soviet Armenia. The Khrushchev Thaw set up a relatively positive social-political and cultural climate, and as a result bolstered artistic life and a group of artists emerged. The art of painters like Minas Avetisyan, Vruyr Galstyan and Ashot Hovhannisyan was also the outcome of this kind of developments. This exhibition is limited to a single collection; nevertheless, it provides an opportunity to reveal the multilayered aesthetic vision of each of three artists, while taking into consideration the fact that most of the pieces are being exhibited publicly for the first time. The paintings from Boris Galstyan’s collection by Vruyr Galstyan and Deghdz Ashot have never been exhibited before. In the case of Minas Avetisyan, only a few of the twenty works shown have been exhibited earlier in the artist’s solo or group exhibitions.
In the scope of the third exhibition from the Yerevan Collectors’ Choice series, Minas is the central figure and is represented more thoroughly for two main reasons. Firstly, he is the central figure of Boris Galstyan’s private collection, and secondly, it is a fact that those years were primarily associated with Minas Avetisyan’s name. The exhibition presents not only his early art pieces, but also the final stage of Minas’ oeuvre is revealed. Many of his works from this period were lost in fire at his studio in 1972 and because of these works one can conceive at what creative level the artist was at that time. 
Vruyr Galstyan’s as well as Deghdz Ashot’s presence in Boris Galstyan’s collection and correspondingly in this exhibition is quantitatively less compared to Minas Avetisyan’s works. However, from the perspective of artistic value one cannot underestimate the selection.
The ten canvases by Vruyr Galstyan in the exhibition give a perfect sense of his artistic handwriting, which has some resonance with the two other painters with respect to palette, but from the point of content and composition he founded his own niche in the realm of fine art of the 60s and 70s. Vruyr Galstyan is also distinguished for his urban aesthetic, which is more obvious when combining the creations of these three artists, where next to countryside landscapes one can see the visual perception of Yerevan with unique landscapes of the Kond district. 
In the scope of the exhibition Deghdz Ashot is presented by the artworks from his mature and late periods. Besides artist’s famous geometrical paintings, there are also artworks in the gallery that reveals Deghdz Ashot’s art from an unexpected point of view. Besides the paintings, the third exhibition of the Yerevan Collectors’ Choice series also presents graphical works by Deghdz Ashot, revealing an artistic layer which has not been deeply recognized or shown before. Especially the pieces such as Life and Longing are like applique' work by avant-garde artists from the beginning of the 20th century. These artworks show that during this period Soviet Armenian artists were searching for new forms in modern Western, European and U.S. art; it shows their aspiration to become a part of world modernist tendencies.
In March 1993 the exhibition Three Worlds of Color opened at the National Gallery of Armenia, in scope of which works by Martiros Saryan, Haroutiun Galentz and Minas Avetisyan were exhibited. This was a significant event, being one of the first major exhibitions of the independent Republic of Armenia. The exhibition Yerevan Collectors’ Choice 3 not only reveals the collector Boris Galstyan, but also becomes an essential stage for the Armenian art history, as the one initiated 23 years earlier. If the line Saryan-Galentz-Minas somehow summarizes Armenian fine art of the 20th century to the 1970s, from the plastic and color vision aspect, the Minas-Vruyr-Deghdz line for its part shows the continuation of these aesthetics and the end of it. At the end of the 1980s and in the 1990s, with the collapse of Soviet Armenia and the declaration of Armenian independence, a new social-political and cultural atmosphere demanded new art forms, the basis for which was founded in 1970s by such artists as those presented in the current exhibition.

Boris Galstyan was born in Hadrut region of Nagorno Karabakh in 1945. He has lived in Yerevan since 1966 and graduated from the Yerevan State University Law Department. For many years he held different positions in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He has been collecting artworks for nearly 30 years.

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