PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, LONDON

Vruyr Galstyan
AUTOPORTRAIT

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, LONDON

Vruyr Galstyan
AUTOPORTRAIT

Details & Cataloguing

At The Crossroads 2: Contemporary Art from Istanbul to Kabul

London

Vruyr Galstyan
1924-1996
AUTOPORTRAIT
signed with initials and dated 77; signed, titled and dated 1977 on the reverse
oil on canvas
68 by 50cm.; 26 3/4 by 19 3/4 in.

Catalogue Note

One of the main features of Armenian artist Vryur Galstyan’s intense works is their palette. His colours, just like his characters, form an unknown, parallel reality. Throughout his life Galstyan stayed faithful to a limited number of images that he used for his explorations: self-portraits, clowns, masks, Armenian poets Sayat-Nova and Yegishe Charents, Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. He is not interested in his subjects’ exact features, rather his interest is of metaphysical nature; it is structure and colour that are instrumental to his search. Thick strips of black and white are paramount to Galstyan’s organization of complex colour structures. His palette is characterised by pastel hues, with preference to lilacs, blues, ochres and olive-greens. The sharpness of line dissolves in the bewilderingly harmonious contrast of most improbable colours. Even though Galstyan’s approach to colour planes and enhanced outlines is Modernist in nature, it is deeply rooted in the Armenian colouristic tradition.

Galstyan’s stylistic approach changed significantly from the 1960s, with the interplay of line and colour becoming more complex and veering towards abstraction, to which the artist turned in the 1980s and 1990s. The present lot was created at the peak of the artist’s career in 1977 and is an important work in the artist’s oeuvre. The colours become brighter, while the reds and yellows are more prevalent. The contour lines are sharp and contrasting. The existential enquiry of the 1960s develops into an exploration of man and time. The artist searches for answers through increased use of white and black, enigmatic expressions of portraits, and dramatic unmixed colours.

Galstyan remained in constant dialogue with the avant-garde. In his work strong colour is continuously prevalent over structured lines. He masterfully combines the Armenian tradition of colour, beginning with medieval illuminated manuscripts, and the Modernist linearity of form and patchwork of colour planes wtih the inexplicable ‘Armenianness’ of facial features.

Catalogue note written by Sabina Sadova

At The Crossroads 2: Contemporary Art from Istanbul to Kabul

London