Still Life

Accession Number

Still Life

Sarkis Sarkisian

Object Creation Date
circa 1929-1951

Medium & Support
oil on board

27 9/16 x 22 7/16 in. (70 x 56.9 cm);35 5/16 x 30 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (89.69 x 77.47 x 6.35 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. John S. Newberry, Jr.

Label copy
President's House object Summary
A central figure in the Detroit arts community, Sarkis Sarkisian was born in Smyrna, a region of Turkey, and emigrated with his family to the U. S. in 1923. Sarkisian enjoyed drawing and painting from an early age, and his parents and teachers encouraged his deisre to become an artist. After high school he studied painting at the Art School of Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. In 1934 he became the first of the School's graduates to be appointed to the faculty, and by 1941 had become an influential teacher and head of the painting department. In 1947 he becmae director of the School, a position he held until his retirement in 1967. During the more than thrity years that he was at the School, Sarkis taught many well-known Detroit artisis and saw his work receive national exposure.
Along with portraits and figure studies, still-lifes were a favorite subject throughout Sarkis' career. In many of the works he used and re-used the same elements:a white pitcher, a white bowl, fruit, and flowers. His vision of still-life painting was transformed after repeated, long viewings of a Matisse still-life at the Detroit Institute of Arts. He saw in Matisse what he called "the freedom, the emotional application of the paint." The impact of this experience is evident here with the loose, fluid handling of paint and animated lines that define the forms. The use of color is somewhat subdued, but as in other Sarkis still-lifes, the tones are jewel-like and carefully placed.
(Katie Aldrich)

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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modern and contemporary art
still lifes

1 Related Resource

Detroit-Area Artists
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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