Ariel Agemian’s works range from poignant portraits, capturing the true essence of a person, to beautiful nudes and lively paintings of daily life and beauty, and inspired religious works. You can view many of these by following the gallery links at right.
His stunning and provocative nudes, as reflected in the painting entitled Artificial Paradise and Nareide, were occasionally banned from public viewing. Some were eliminated from a showing at the YMCA in 1947. The model for many of his nudes was the French Countess de Vernou de Bonneuil.
His early childhood recollections in witnessing the death of his father has been recounted in the oil painting entitled The Turkish Massacre. His years from childhood to adulthood in the monastic environment at the Collegio Armeno Venice of the Mekhatariste Monastery sowed the seeds for his later religious works. These works include murals at the Collegio Armeno and Churches in Europe and America. (see paintings on display)
Annig, his daughter, remarks, “It was amusing and sometimes tiresome for me to dress in those garments the Pharisees and Christ and Blessed Mother wore. It was a practice in patience for me. He wanted to capture the light and see the folds. I am reminded, by those who knew me as a young girl, that my long curly blonde hair was in most of his portraits of Christ. My mother was the model for the many of the Blessed Mothers.”
Ariel visited the Shroud of Turin in Turino many times in the late 1920s. These visits inspired him to paint the Face of Christ in 1935.
He spontaneously painted those people who came into his life, as models for the present project, or because he wanted to capture their spirit on canvas. These paintings included Armenian women and men, who were considered part of his extended family. He enjoyed capturing Annig’s school friends in the project he was doing at the time.
Annig recalls, “I vividly recall when a family with nine children came to our home to see the paintings. My father noticed one girl in particular. The artist’s eyes appreciated her beauty and her long blonde hair, which fell to her waist. He took her to his studio and he was able to capture her full portrait within an hour. Since he did not have a frame, he drew one around her.” This painting is entitled, “Golden Beauty.”
He intended to share his work by furnishing all the walls his home with his work. He often said, If people like my work they need not buy it, just come to our home and I will share my art with you. Annig doesn’t recall the walls ever being repainted. “When my father moved paintings about it became apparent–the walls were two different colors.”
Annig remembers, “The significance of my parents’ engagement and their wedding is depicted in the painting, Man and Woman United in the Oyster Shell. I was promised a self-portrait when turning 21 years of age. Soon after my 20th birthday, my Dad insisted on my sitting for a portrait. At the same time, he did the last of his three self portraits. Two months later and on late Thanksgiving Day, he died of a massive stroke with his family by his side.”