New York: c. 1943].
Oil on canvas, signed by the artist, lower left. 44 x 30 inches. Matted and famed. Item #211704
A fine portrait of Armenian-born Kelekian (1868-1951), one of the most important art/antiquites dealers of the modern era. Known to his peers as the "dean of antiquities", Kelekian's connoisseurship of the ancient art of the Near East opened the eyes of many Americans to a heritage which was hitherto unknown and unappreciated. Kelekian himself was born in the Armenia town of Kayser, in modern-day Turkey. He began his career in Constantinople, opened a gallery in Paris in 1891, then moved to New York shortly after the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Very quickly, Kelekian's clients included some of America's wealthiest families (e.g., the Havermeyers, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the Astors, the Walters of Baltimore, et. al.) Kelekian was primarlily responsible for building the Coptic, Early Christian, and Classical collections of Henry Walters (later founder of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore) and the Gothic collection of financier and Metropolitan Museum of Art president George Blumenthal. Kelekian was equally well known as an early champion of modern art, and began collecting and promoting such artists as Henri Matisse, André Derain, and Pablo Picasso at a very early date. Boisterous, expansive, a friend to many artists, he died in his eighties at his home in New York with a world-wide reputation. (For a sketch of his life and career, see the online article by Hrag Vartanian for the Armenian General benevolent Fund: http://www.agbu.org/agbunews/display.asp?A_ID=69)
This portrait by the Lithuanian-born artist Arbit Blatas shows the dealer at the end of his career, by which time Blatas had established a significant reputation as a painter, sculptor, and opera stage designer. Blatas emigrated to Paris at the age of 15, and at 21 became the youngest member of the so-called School of Paris, which included Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Duft, Soutine, et, al. Blatas's now famous portraits of these artists, known as the "school of Paris" portraits, must have been familiar to the connoisseur Kelekian. Blatas escaped from the Nazis in 1941 when he moved to New York and established himself as a prolific and versatile artist in a variety of media. His exhibitions were always well received by the critics, and his works now are seen in museums, galleries, private international art collections, and various public places the world over.
Price: $3,500.00 Free International Delivery