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 Sarkis Daltzar Erganian  (1874 - 1950)

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Lived/Active: Missouri/New York / Turkey/Russian Federation      Known for: landscape and marine painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Hagia Sophia from the Bosphorus
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sarkis Erganian, whose work also appears at auction under the incorrect spelling of Sarkus Erganian, worked from a small studio in St. Louis, Missouri, exhibiting his signature landscape and marine paintings with the Saint Louis Art Guild.

He led a colorful life through poverty, war, and the Bolshevik threat, spanning several continents.  Born into poverty in Asiatic Turkey, from early on, he had a desire to paint and  learn, saving the little money he could get to attend the prestigious State Fine Arts School in Constantinople. He spent a year there, under harrowing conditions, returning home as a stowaway on a sea vessel, starved, and violently ill.  Nursed back to health by the family, he obtained a position as a teacher but went back to Constantinople two years later. This time around he found a benefactor in the daughter of a Turkish Government official, who ordered several paintings and invited him to her house. 

Erganian had now saved a considerable sum of money and decided to fulfill his dream of joining the art colony in Paris, France.  There he lived a Bohemian life, studying art, with Gerome, among others, and living among his kind.

Erganian continued his journey, and in fall of 1897, he landed in New York City. He was immediately successful, selling his paintings and drawing an art page on a regular basis for the New York Herald.  Never to stay in a place for long, he returned to Paris in 1899, only to travel to St. Louis for the World's Fair four years later.  He found success, receiving prices for his work, fulfilling mural commissions, including for the city of St. Louis.  He became a naturalized citizen, married,  and several prosperous years living in St. Louis, followed.  Homesick for his birth place, though his father and one brother were dead and his mother and sister lived in the U.S., Erganian and his wife left for Turkey  in the fall of 1912,  were  he found employment as an art teacher in Constantinople.

Not feeling safe as an Armenian in Turkey at the outbreak of World War I, he and his wife decided to go to Tiflis, Georgia, whre he was a vocal opponent to the Bolsheviks, who were about to take over Russia.  Leaving his sick wife behind, at her insistance, he fled over the mountains to Constantinople and from there achieved safe passage to the U.S., going directly to St. Louis. His wife recovered, and was able to follow, rejoining her husband in St. Louis after the war.

Erganian died and was buried in St. Louis in 1950; his wife Nevart was born in 1886, and died in 1972, also in St.Louis.

Sources include:
Leon Izmirlian, a relative of the artist, who provided the article "Sarkis Erganian, Armenian Artist, has Saved and Starved Most of His Life to Paint," The St. Louis Globe-Democrat of Sunday, March 23, 1930. He also provided a photograph of the tombstone on the grave of  Sarkis and Nevart Erganian, at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.

Grant Izmirlian, a first cousin twice removed, who made the connection between Sarkis Erganian and Sarkus Erganion.

Treadway/Toomey auction catalogue, 12/2/2002

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Scott Wilder, art researcher from Olathe, Kansas. Referring to the copy of the death certificate, which he provided, he wrote:

"According to this document he was born in 1874, as opposed to 1868. As the document states it was proved by his wife Nevert so it seems to be good first hand information. It also provides his exact birth and death dates (1-6-1874) to ( 2-7-1950).  He died in St. Louis, Mo. The document also provides his middle name, Daltzar. An intersting artist.

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