Wartan Mahokian (1869 Trabzon – 1937 Nice)
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimension: 67 x 100 cm
About the Artist:
Wartan Mahokian (Armenian: Վարդան Մախոխեան; 31 May 1869 – 10 February 1937) was an Armenian painter who lived in the Ottoman Empire and France and was known for his marine paintings. After completing his studies at the Berlin Academy of Arts, he traveled and exhibited his art in France, Germany, Egypt and elsewhere. His art is displayed in various museums throughout the world.
Wartan Mahokian was born in Trabzon in the Ottoman Empire to Armenian parents. His father, Aristakes Mahokian, was a merchant who demanded that his two daughters and four sons be educated. In 1875, Mahokian began his early education at a local Armenian school where he took an interest in drawing. He later attended the prestigious Sanasarian College in Erzurum, returning to Trabzon after five years of study. During his time spent at Sanasarian, Mahokian learned to paint. Wartan also learned to play the violin and studied music theory. Mahokian’s uncle persuaded him to pursue a career in art. In 1891, Mahokian began studies at the Berlin Academy of Arts where he was trained under the directorship of Eugen Bracht and Hans Gude.
Mahokian graduated from the academy in 1894 and traveled to the Crimea, where he met the Russian Armenian painter Ivan Aivazovsky in Feodosia. While in Russia, Mahokian painted various scenes of the sea. He returned to his native Trabzon in 1895 and witnessed the Hamidian massacres. He escaped first to Batum and then to Europe where he began exhibiting his art. One of his first exhibitions was in Berlin in 1900. In 1904 Mahokian was accepted into the Berlin Artists’ Association. He traveled to Egypt where he exhibited over 150 pieces in Alexandria and Cairo. After a brief stop in Denmark, Mahokian went to Italy, settled in Capri and continued painting there. He returned to Germany in 1907 and participated in various exhibitions Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Munich.
“Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur”
Mahokian returned to the Ottoman Empire in 1908 and settled in his hometown of Trabzon. He continued to paint there, but with the start of World War I and the Armenian genocide, Mahokian moved to Nice, France in 1914, where he remained the rest of his life. Wartan Mahokian received French citizenship in 1927, two years after being awarded the Legion of Honor. He participated in the Paris Salon in 1921, 1922, and 1927. In 1931 a personal exhibition was held at the Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice. He also exhibited his works in Monte Carlo in 1932.
In 1915, in memory of those who died during the Armenian genocide, Mahokian composed a symphony entitled “The Sobbing of Armenia”. It was first performed at Monte Carlo in 1918 and then played throughout Europe. After a long illness, Mahokian died on 10 February 1937 in Nice, France at the age of 67.