A fine portrait of a young Armenian girl by the famed Russian artist.
Féodor Petrovich Tchoumakoff (1823 – 1911) was born in St. Petersburg and was trained first at the St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy, and later at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. The works he did during his studies earned high recognition from Karl Brüllov. After successfully graduating from the academy, he received a chance to take a study trip to Italy. In 1852 he was given an honorary academic title. Starting in 1857, Tchoumakoff lived and worked primarily in Paris. He exhibited at salon shows in Paris, while also sending his works to exhibitions at the St. Petersburg Academy of the Arts.
Tchoumakoff was a fairly popular artist in the aristocratic circles of France and Russia. His works were purchased by, for example, the government of France and Czar Aleksander II. In 1866 the czar bestowed the Order of St. Anna III class on Tchoumakoff for the painting “The Saviour and the Rich Man”, which he had purchased. Tchoumakoff worked in different techniques and genres: historical, genre scenes from life, portraits. Beginning in 1870 the artist primarily painted “little heads” (“golovki”), which bought Tchoumakoff fame as the “Russian Greuze” (French artist J.-B. Greuze, 1725-1805). Tchoumakoff’s works can be found in the State Russian Museum, Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery, and in many other Russian and European museums as well as private collections.
The drawing comes from a private collection of Sarkis Boghossian and was published in his monumental work “Armenian Iconography” that gathers ____ prints and drawings on the subject.
Boghossian’s biography resembles a plot of a thriller. Having been born in 1921 in a small Armenian village in today’s Turkey, he was taken to Marseille at the age of six by his family that fled famine and oppression. Passionate about art, poetry and Armenian culture, Boghossian chose a career of bookseller. In 1967 he opened a rare bookshop in Paris, “Le XIXe siècle”, specialising in rare books and engravings related to Armenia.
In 1998 the French booksellers’ community was shocked waking up to the news that Boghossian was found dead in his Parisian flat, tortured and murdered, with a number of valuable books missing from his apartment. Police quickly traced the murdered, who, however, hardly resembled the idea one may have of an assassin. He was a French bookseller of Turkish origin and a renowned scholar with a PhD from Sorbonne specialising in Ottoman and Armenian history. He was apparently in dispute with Boghossian over a number of rare books that the latter kept as a guarantee against a cash loan. The bookseller was arrested and subsequently sentenced to 19 years in prison just when he was due to give a lecture at a conference in Nice titled “The Armenian merchants in the Mediterranean in the eighteenth century”.
Charcoal and colored pencils on paper (29.5 x 19.8 cm), signed in left lower corner, laid on thicker contemporary paper, mounted, stamp “Coll. SB” to mount Good condition.
Provenance: From the collection of Sarkis Boghossian.
Sarkis Boghossian “Armenian Iconography I” reproduces No. 563 p.404 – Paris, 1987.
Stock ID: 94012