This Week in Armenian History

Birth of Hagop Hagopian (May 24, 1923)

Hagop Hagopian lived and developed his career as a painter in Egypt until he repatriated to Armenia in the 1960s.    

Hagopian was born on May 24, 1923, in Alexandria, Egypt. He graduated from the Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus. He later attended the Institute of Fine Arts in Cairo (19441948) and then was granted a scholarship to attend the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris (1952-1954). He also studied at the studio of renowned painter André L’Hote during his stay in the French capital. His early works are small-size oils: one-figure compositions in interiors and still lifes. He also reflected on the feeling of living far from the homeland.  

He participated in the fourth world festival of youth and students (Bucharest, 1953), where he obtained the second prize; the exhibitions of modern Egyptian art in Moscow and Leningrad (1958), and the Biennale of Alexandria (1959, 1961).  

He settled in Armenia (1962) with his family during the second wave of repatriation and the Armenian landscape became his new world. His characters are social or occupational types, static figures circumscribed by a space limited in depth, their mood of constraint and isolation suggesting a miserable existence.   

In 1967-1971 Hagop Hagopian was elected deputy to the Supreme Soviet of Armenia. He won the State Prize of Armenia twice (1977, 1985) and also earned the title of Popular Artist of Armenia. He was decorated with the medal of St. Mesrop Mashtots of the Republic of Armenia (1996) and the medal of St. Sahak and St. Mesrop of the Armenian Church (2002). He posthumously won the Presidential Prize of Armenia in 2013. 

Hagopian had several exhibitions in Yerevan, Moscow, and other cities. He published a collection of essays and interviews in 2006. He died in Yerevan, aged 89, on March 9, 2013.