Biography

 

1910-1915
Ottoman Empire 

 

 

 

Haroutiun Galentz (Harmandayan) was born in 1910 in the town of Kyuryun (present-day Kyurin), Vilayet of Sebastia in the Ottoman Empire. Galentz’s exact date of birth is unknown; he was only 5 years old when he lost his parents during the Great Genocide in 1915.

Galentz’s elder brothers, Haroutiun was born on the next day of Easter, at night, thus being named Haroutiun (according to the calendar of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the birthday of Haroutiun Galentz should be April 10, 1910). Among the four brothers in the family, Galentz was the third one. His parents – Tiratur and Almast, were wealthy people; the family owned a factory of carpets and shawl, the products of which were exported to Europe.

In the years of the Great Genocide in the Ottoman Empire Haroutiun and his brothers were miraculously saved from the atrocities and death; after a long walk in the endless rows of the refugee caravans, after all Haroutiun’s mother managed to take her sons to Syria.

 

Sketches made for the exhibition dedicated to Armenian Genocide. 1965. © Galentz

 

Sketches made for the exhibition dedicated to Armenian Genocide. 1965. © Galentz
Sketches made for the exhibition dedicated to Armenian Genocide. 1965. © Galentz

 

13 years old Haroutiun. Aleppo. Syria
1915-1923

By getting to Alepo, Almast, Haroutiun’s mother, passed away at hospital. Before that she had managed to find a shelter for the brothers in one of the American orphanages established there for the Armenian orphans. And it was in the school of the orphanage that Haroutiun got his primary education, by studying there only four years.

Galentz started to lead an individual life from an early age. He was hardly ten years old when he left the orphanage and temporarily took a refuge in his uncle’s place. Having put aside reading and writing, young Galentz devoted himself to the only passion he had – art; he took calligraphy classes and tried to work with oil paint.

H. Galentz. “Garbage collectors”. 1920th. pencil on paper, 42,5 x 54. © Galentz

 

1923-1927

In 1923 Haroutiun got acquainted with an Armenian painter Onik Avetisyan who then was a student at the School of Fine Arts in Vienna, and was spending his summer holidays in Aleppo. In summer Galentz took painting lessons from Avetisyan for over 2-3 months. This was young Galentz’s first professional school. Having noticed the young boy’s talent in painting, Onik Avetisyan purchased one of Galentz’s works to encourage him.

Haroutiun Galentz. “Bathing of the pigs”. 1926 oil on canvas, 46 x 56. © Galentz

Galentz lived in Aleppo until he was 17; he rented a studio, began to paint and sell portraits and genre paintings, thus already gaining some fame.

 

Logo of Harmandayan brothers’ photography & art studio in Tripoli, Lebanon. 1930th

In 1927 Galentz moved to Tripoli, Lebanon, where his two elder brothers had gone earlier; they had already opened the “Harmand” Photo Studio there (the signboard is still on the facade of the building half ruined because of the military activities in Tripoli).

In Tripoli young artist translated his surname Harmandayan. It translates into Armenian as “kals” which means “milling”. He finalized it into Kalents surname signing his art works but only its French transcription Galentz.

Haroutiun Galentz with his brother Vardevar Harmandaian in the studio. Tripoli. Lebanon. 1930th

 

Stencil, prepared by Haroutiun Galentz, for boxes during transportation his canvas to Moscow and Leningrad.
Haroutiun Galentz’s visiting card.

 

Claude Michelet. Beirut. 1940th.

It was here that he met the French painter Claude Michellet, by setting basis for their long-lasting friendship and collaboration. They travelled a lot together throughout Lebanon and Syria, setting up various exhibition-sales.

untitled-scanned-04
H. Galentz. “Claude Michelet”. Beirut. © Galentz
1930-1946
Haroutiun Galentz in the studio. Lebanon. 1930th.

In 1930 Galentz moved to the capital of Lebanon – Beirut, where upon Michellet’s request, he began to run the Art Studio adjacent to Michellet’s workshop, by providing classes of painting and graphics. Soon afterwards Galentz set up his own studio.

In 1931 Galentz took part in the Young Artists Exhibition.

H. Galentz. “A view from the studio”. 1940th.Beirut. © Galentz
H. Galentz. “A street in Beirut”. 1940. © Galentz
H.Galentz. “Lively day”. Beirut. 1940th. © Galentz
H. Galentz. 1930th. Beirut.
H. Galentz. “A sunset”. Oil on canvas, 33 x 26. Tripoli. Private collection.
H.Galentz. “A river in Tripoli”. Oil on canvas, 30 x 25. Private collection.
H. Galentz. “My brothers”. Oil on canvas, 45 x 40. 1932. © Galentz

 

In 1932 Galentz became one of the initiators of the establishment of the Union of Art Lovers. Later on it set ground for the establishment of the Artists’ Union of Lebanon. Galentz was one of the active members of the Union; in fact he would participate in all the group exhibitions, as well as set up solo ones. He had a wide scope of interests: besides painting, he was engaged in scenic design and monumental sculpture; he cooperated with different magazines, newspapers, as well as publishing houses, by designing books.

H. Galentz. “Lebanon multinational population”. 1930th. Private collection.
H. Galentz. “Brother’s portrait. Haik”. End of 1930th. Pastel, charcoal, paper. 48 x 61. Private collection.
H. Galentz. Bas-relief. 1930th.
H. Galentz. Bas-relief. 1934.

In 1938 he met his future wife – Armine Paronyan, in his studio in Beirut. She had moved to Beirut from Aleppo (Syria) to take classes by Galentz.

Galentz and Armine in the studio. Beirut.

In May 1938, Galentz presented his ”Portrait of the Bedouin Woman” in the exhibition of the Union of Art Lovers.

Pages of the exhibition Catalog organized within the framework of the “Union of France”. Salon “Friends of Art”. 1938. Beirut.
1. H. Galentz. “Pigeon rocks”. (Raouche rocks). 1938. Oil on canvas, 39 x 54. © Galentz
H. Galentz. “Flowers”. 1930th. Oil on canvas, 62 x 82. Private collaction.
H. Galentz. “Portrait of the soldier”. 1938. Oil on canvas, 45 x 31. © Galentz
Galentz in his studio working on the bas-relief for the New York World Expo. Beirut. 1938.
New York World Fair Board of Director’s certificate. 1939.
Honorary diploma of the Lebanon Government. 1940.

In 1939 he presented his 7-meter-long high-relief sculpture at the Lebanon pavilion in the International Exhibition in New York, by being awarded certificates of Honour by the Lebanon Government and the Exhibition Committee.

“Crafts of Lebanon” sculptural frieze, presented in the Lebanese pavilion at New York Word Fair. 1939.

In 1940 by the order of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Galentz created the figure of St. Mary for the alter in St. Nishan Church in Beirut. Tigran Gupeseryan was the architect who had come to Beirut from France, and Galentz and he became close friends.

H. Galentz. Sketch of altar altar Virgin Mary for the St. Nshan Church. Beirut. 1940. At present, the altar altar Virgin Mary is in the Museum of Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, Antelias, Lebanon.
H. Galentz. Sketch of altar altar Virgin Mary for the St. Nshan Church. Beirut. 1940. At present, the altar altar Virgin Mary is in the Museum of Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, Antelias, Lebanon.

 

In 1943 in St. Nishan Church in Beirut Galentz and Armine got married right under the auspices of St. Mary on the alter painted by Galentz himself. Armen, their first child, was born in February 1944.

In 1943 Galentz painted Claude Michulet’s portrait, by presenting it at the exhibition held by the Artists’ Union of Lebanon on July 8.

 

Haroutiun Galentz and Armine Baronian’s wedding ceremony at the altar of St. Nshan Church (Holy Cross), Beirut. 1943. Galentz was the author of the altar Virgin Mary.
Galentz with his son – Armen. Beirut. 1944.
H. Galentz. “Portrait of Claude Michelet”. Private collection.

Galentz. Dome fresco in Zmmar Church of St. Mary the Virgin. Lebanon.
Galentz., Beirut. 1940th.

 

In 1945 he created a voluminous mosaic for the lobby of the “Regent Hotel” in Beirut, which was destroyed during the wartime.

In 1945 Galentz ornamented the dome of the Monastery Zmmar in Lebanon.

Haroutiun Galentz. Beirut.

1946-1967
Armenia

 

 

The widespread campaign by the Soviet authorities became an incentive for Galentz to move to Armenia – Soviet Armenia. In May Galentz left for his homeland together with his wife Armine, and son Armen, by the earliest ship scheduled.

In June 1946 Haroutiun Galentz became a member of the Artists’ Union of Armenia.

In October 1946 Galentz’s second son Saro was born.

Haroutiun Galentz with his son Armen on “Armenia” ship, leaving Beirut for the Soviet Armenia. 1946.

Brothers – Armen and Saro Galentzs. 1947. Yerevan.

In 1947 among other repatriates, Galentz received a piece of land at that time out of Yerevan, in a non-populated area.

Galentzs house-studio project. The author was Haroutiun Galentz.
Repatriated artists’ exhibition, organized in Armenian Union of Artists in 1947. Haroutiun Galentz, Armine Galentz.
1947 թվականի ցուցահանդեսին Հարություն Կալենցը ներկայացրել էր Արմինե Կալենցի դիմանկարը.

On April 27, 1947 Haroutiun and Armine Galentzs were among the 14 artists participating in the first exhibition of the works by the artists and sculptors repatriated to Armenia from abroad (Lebanon, Syria, Romania, Bulgaria, Iran). The exhibition was held at the House of Artists in Yerevan. Martiros Saryan, President of the Artists’ Union of Soviet Armenia, made an opening speech at the exhibition.

H. Galentz. “Portrait of Armine”. 1944. Oil on canvas, 66 x 57. © Galentz.

The regular Republican Exhibition held at the Artists’ Union of Armenia in April 1948 was fatal for Galentz. According to the critique published in the ”Komunist” (Communist) newspaper, the central organ of the Soviet authorities, Galentz was recommended to get rid of the influence of the bourgeois art, and the slogan of the struggle against the formalist, decadent and other movements alien to the Soviet art set basis for depriving Galentz from his membership in the Artists’ Union. As a result, Haroutiun Galentz was no longer allowed to participate in the annual art exhibitions held by the Union, thus unwillingly, he found himself out of creative environment, being deprived of already rare state orders. Moreover, artists who were in the same situation, were considered as ”spongers” and subject to criminal punishment, even up to being exiled…

1948-1956 were years of hardship, idleness and poverty with his meager earning, due to, as Galentz himself used to say, ”hackwork”. Galentz, in fact, stopped creating…

In 1951 a decision was made during the session of the USSR Artists’ Union to restore the candidacy of Haroutiun Galentz as a member of the Artists’ Union.

 

H. Galentz. “ Self portrait” (with ushanka). 1953. © Galentz.
47
1956-1967

A slight remission of the tension, depression and forced idleness was discerned in the mid 50’s. Galentz’s studio began to revive, turning into a meeting point for the leading intellectuals, scientists, actors, writers and open-minded individuals.

In 1957 Galentz met Artem Alikhanyan, a renowned scientist, world-famous physicist, influential individual and art collector, becoming friends with him. From then on Alikhanyan had become Galentz’s sponsor and the follower of his art. Galentz became known among wider circles of the intelligentsia in Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg), as well as among many scientists from abroad.

In 1959 due to Ilya Ehrenburg, Galentz got acquainted with Levon Mkrtchyan; that meeting, too, set basis for a long-lasting friendship.

H. Galentz. “Portrait of Artem Alikhanian”. 1960. National Gallery of Armenia.

In 1959 on his own initiative, Artem Alikhanyan exhibited Galentz’s works in his apartment in Moscow, later on transferring the exhibition to Moscow Institute of Physics. As a result Galents received a lot of orders. His works were purchased by outstanding Russian scientists, writers and actors, such as A. Migdal, L. Artsimovich, L. Okun, S. Kapitsa, I. Ehrenburg, M. Plisetskaya, A. Raykin, Y. Borisova, L. Brik, A. Gitovich, A. Dimshits and others.

In 1959 Galentz designed two posters for the performance ”Love and Three Oranges” staged by A. Raykin at the State Sketch Theatre of Leningrad.

Haroutiun Galentz. “Portrait of Levon Mkrtchian”. 1965. © Galentz.
Haroutiun Galentz. “Portrait of the actress Valentina Khmara”. 1961. National Gallery of Armenia.
Haroutiun Galentz with Maya Plisetskaya in Galentz’s garden. Portrait of M. Plisetsaya is in her private collection.
Galentz. Invitation of the failed exhibition. 1961. ink, paper, 16 x 33,5. © Galentz

In 1961 another ”non-official” exhibition was held in the apartment of Boris Piotrovsky, the Director of the State Hermitage Museum in Leningrad.

In 1961 Galentz’s exhibition at the Department of Russian Language and Literature at Yerevan State University was prohibited; the organizer of the exhibition was Levon Mkrtchyan who then was still a young laboratorian. The invitations, with a foal and a rose together with the date in the form of a cross on it, were the reason of prohibiting the exhibition. This issue was examined at the level of the Agitation and Propaganda Department of the Communist Party (KK) of Armenia. The article ”The Amazing and Sad France” by A. Dimshits, published in the magazine ”Literature and life” in March 1961 came to rescue. Upon Levon Mkrtchyan’s request, in his article, A. Dimshits mentioned that the works of Picasso and other geniuses in France ”reminded him of Galentz’s life-driven and magnificent works.”

Haroutiun Galentz. “Portrait of Gitovich”. 1965. © Galentz.
Haroutiun Galentz exhibition in the Union of Artist of Armenia. 1962.
Haroutiun Galentz solo exhibition opening. 1962.

In 1962 the first and the only solo exhibition, ever held in Armenia during the artist’s lifetime, was opened in the Artists’ Union in Yerevan.

In 1965 Galentz was awarded the title of Honorary Artist of Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR).

From the exposition of Galentz’s solo exhibition. 1962.
Galentz solo exhibition invitation. 1962.
Haroutiun Galentz. 1967.

Haroutiun Galentz died of heart attack in 1967 at the age of 57. In her ”Forgive me, Haroutiun” Book of Memories about Galentz, Armine Galentz has written, ”If you knew how many people came to say good-bye to you, you wouldn’t die.”

In 1967 Haroutiun Galentz was posthumously awarded the Armenian SSR State Prize in the field of literature and art for the portraits of A. Gitovich, S. Barseghyan, A. Alikhanyan, as well as for the paintings ”Tulips”, ”The Kurdish Women”, ”Our Yard”, ”Spring” and ”The Hrazdan Gorge”.

Haroutiun Galentz. 1967.
Haroutiun Galentz. “Spring in our yard”. 1967. Private collection.
Haroutiun Galentz. 1965.
Haroutiun Galentz. “Poppies”. 1965. Private collection.
Haroutiun Galentz. “Kurdish women”. 1964. © Galentz.
The flyer of the exhibition of Galentz’s paintings from private collections, held in Haikakn (Armenian) club in 1970. Beirut, Lebanon. The text author is Yolande Agemian.

Due to Armine Galentz’s efforts, in 1968 one year after Galentz’s death, the Gallery-Studio after Haroutiun Galentz was opened in Yerevan with the status of a ”non-governmental institution” which was unprecedented in the former Soviet Union. It was open to the public even during the renovation of Galentz’s house, the beginning of its construction and its transformation into the Galentz Museum.

The exhibition of Galentz’s works opened in 1970 in the Central House of Writers of Moscow. Poet A. Dimshits supported the organization of the exhibition.

In May 1970 the exhibition of Galentz’s works opened at “Hayk” club in Beirut. The works were brought from the private collections of the Lebanese collectors. Author of the preface of the humble illustrated book was Hollande Ajemian, Barsegh Kanachyan’s daughter.

Haroutiun Galentz. “Flowers”. 1945. Private collection.
Haroutiun Galentz. “Still life with figures”. 1960. Private collection.

The first posthumous exhibition of Galentz opened in the Artists’ Union of Armenia in Yerevan in 1971.

Invitation of Haroutiun Galentz exhibition in Armenian Union of Artist devoted to his 60 anniversary.

The exhibition of Galentz’s works opened in the House of Writers after Mayakovsky in Leningrad in 1971, with the support of writer Dmitry Moldavsky and Tatyana Makhmuryan, Art Historian at the Union of Writers of Leningrad.

Invitation to the literature evening devoted to Haroutiun Galentz and exhibition of his paintings.

The exhibition of the works of Haroutiun and Armine Galentzs opened at the Institute of Physics in Yerevan in 1988, and it was devoted to Artem Alikhanyan’s 80th anniversary.

Galentz’s works – both from family and Gallery collections, were displayed at the exhibition ”Three Worlds of Colour – Saryan, Galentz, Minas” held at the National Gallery of Armenia in 1993.

1-3
H. Galentz. “Self-portrait” (“Bonjour tristesse”). 1955. © Galentz
Հարություն Կալենցին նվիրված գրականության երեկոյի և իր ստեղծագործությունների ցուցահանդեսի հրավիրատոմսը:
Հարություն Կալենցին նվիրված գրականության երեկոյի և իր ստեղծագործությունների ցուցահանդեսի հրավիրատոմսը:

An anniversary exhibition of Galentz’s works was set up at the House-Studio of the Galentzs in Yerevan in 1995.

A solo exhibition of the works of Haroutiun and Armine Galentzs, comprising works from various private collections, was held at the Artists’ Union of Armenia, Yerevan, in 2000.

The Galentz Museum was opened within the framework of the events devoted to the 100th anniversary of Haroutiun Galentz, in the street named after Galentz – in the place of the house-studio of the two artists in Yerevan, in April 27, 2010. 

musee