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HOVSEP PUSHMAN (1877-1966)

"Awakening Print"

"Awakening Print"

21 3/4" x 16 3/8", Print 20178

"Print IV"

"Print IV"

23" x 19 1/2", Print 20181

Hovsep Pushman (1877-1966)

Hovsep Pushman was born and grew up in the town of Dikranagerd in Armenia, where his family was in the carpet business. Pushman showed artistic ability early, and at age 11 was the youngest student ever admitted to Istanbul's Imperial School of Fine Arts.


In 1896, Pushman's family emigrated to Chicago, where he studied Chinese culture, immersing himself in Asian art, and began to teach at the age of 17. It became clear that art was his path, so he moved to Paris and studied at the Académie Julian under Jules Joseph Lefebvre, Tony Robert-Fleury and Adolphe Déchenaud. Pushman exhibited his work at the Salon des Artistes Français, where he won medals in 1914 and 1921. Pushman returned to the United States, and in 1916 moved to Riverside, California, living at the city's Mission Inn until 1919. There he accepted some portrait commissions, including one that still hangs at the inn. In 1918 Pushman and a group of California painters founded the Laguna Beach Art Association; the same year he was awarded the California Art Club's Ackerman Prize. 

After his time in California Pushman spent several more years in Paris. He opened his own studio in 1921 and, with the encouragement of Robert-Fleury, concentrated his efforts on exotic portraits and still lifes of carefully arranged objects he had collected.


In 1923, Pushman returned yet again to the United States and settled in New York City. His connection to the Grand Central Art Galleries began when he befriended Erwin Barrie, who once managed Carson Pirie Scott's art collection. Barrie introduced the artist to Walter Leighton Clark, who was in the process of establishing the Galleries. When Clark secured space in New York City's Grand Central Terminal, Barrie was hired as director and he encouraged Pushman to join the Grand Central Art Galleries. Pushman set up his studio in the Carnegie Hall building, where he created the remarkable works he showed at the Galleries.


His career was in full swing, and in 1932 it became obvious. He was honored with a one mean show, and all 16 paintings that were on display sold on opening day. The same year his painting The Daughter of the Sheykh, which had won a silver medal in Paris in 1921, was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 


The 1940s and 1950s brought controversy and change to Pushman's world. In 1940 he sued the New York Graphic Society for reproducing a painting without his permission. While initially the ruling went against the painter, it was eventually reversed; the decision now protects artists' creative works. 


In 1958 the Grand Central Art Galleries, which had been Pushman's home since they opened in 1923, were forced out of the Grand Central Terminal. Eighty-one-year-old Pushman was present at the final reception at the Galleries' Terminal location, which was attended by more than 400 people.

Pushman died on February 13, 1966, in New York City. Three months later, Hulia Shaljian Pushman, his widow, followed him. They were survived by two sons Arsene and Armand.


Biography adapted from multiple sources.



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