Lot 4
  • 4

Hakob Hakobyan

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  • Hakob Hakobyan
  • The Ararat Valley
  • signed and dated 81
  • oil on canvas
  • 72.5 by 99cm.; 28 1/2 by 39in.


Shahen Khachaturian, Hagop Hagopian: Learn and Love, Yerevan 2013, p.76, illustrated in colour 

Catalogue Note

The Ararat Valley is testament to Hakobyan’s reputation as successor to the hero of Armenian Soviet art, Martiros Saryan (1880 – 1972). Both artists specialised in landscapes, focussing on their Armenian heritage and bringing to the genre their own individual idiosyncrasies. The particular appeal of their production lies in the careful application of Modernist European elements to the principles of Soviet Realism; while Hakobyan trained at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière he was also elected People’s Artist of the Republic of Armenia in 1977.

The calm, muted palette and strongly linear composition of the present lot is typical of Hakobyan. The mathematical precision and the light grey-blue tone which permeates the canvas give for a nostalgic scene in which figures are notable only in their absence. Here there is none of the movement or colour of Saryan, instead Hakobyan has developed his own language to express his homeland. The viewer’s attention is draw to the landscape’s ascetic and melancholic beauty that deserves careful contemplation and inward reflection.

While reminiscent of European Modernism, with the geometric forms paying homage to Cézanne, the rocky motifs remain immediately Armenian. Yet at the same time, the aforementioned subtle palette and sharp contours are indebted to the ‘severe style’ of Soviet artists such as Tair Salakhov. The present work delicately balances all of these elements, to produce a masterfully executed and striking piece.