WATERTOWN, Mass.—On Sun., Oct. 14, the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA) will open a remarkable homage exhibit to the Armenian painter and art historian Arshag Fetvadjian (1866-1947).
Born in Trebizond and trained in Rome, Fetvadjian became one of the most prominent Armenian painters of the late 19th century. He is known for his watercolor paintings of the architectural monuments of the medieval Armenian city of Ani, as well as portraits of Armenians at the turn of the 20th century. He was also the designer of the currency and postage stamps of the first Republic of Armenia (1918-20).
Following the creation of the Democratic Republic of Armenia in 1918, the members of the country’s Finance Ministry commissioned Fetvadjian to design the new currency (to replace the Russian ruble) and stamps for the nascent state. Fetvadjian’s attractive designs featured animal motifs that were found on the decorations in Ani. The printing was conducted in Europe, but just as the banknotes were being printed in Paris, Soviet Russia was completing its conquest of the republic. By December 1920, the Armenian state was absorbed by the Soviets. The banknotes were never put into circulation and thus have become a curious icon of an unfulfilled dream.
The opening reception will be held on Sun., Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. The new exhibit will be featured in the museum’s 3rd floor Contemporary Art Gallery. Free admission is offered on opening day only.
The Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA) is located at 65 Main St. in Watertown, MA. Parking is available in the municipal parking lot behind the museum and in adjacent areas. For directions and more information about the program and current exhibits on display, visit www.almainc.org.