Ahmed Ibrahim
4 min readApr 4, 2024

People's Artist of the USSR

Panos Poghos Terlemezyan

Panos Poghos Terlemezyan (March 11, 1865, Van—April 30, 1941, Yerevan, Armenian USSR) was born in the Aygestan suburb of Van City in 1865. He studied at the local elementary school, where he first developed a love for painting. From 1881 to 1886, he studied at the Central College, named after Mekertich Portukalian in Van. In those years, he belonged to the Armenian organisation "Armenakan Party' -It was an Armenian political party established in Van, Ottoman Empire in 1885 by Mekertich Portukalian as an underground organization against the ruling system. It is considered the first Armenian political party.

After the Armenian Genocide, the remnants of the Armenakans joined forces with the "Reorganized Hunchakian Party, the Armenian Constitutional Democratic Party, and the Popular Party, and founded the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ռամկավար Ազատական Կուսակցութիւն (ՌԱԿ)) or Ramgavar Party) in Constantinople on October 1, 1921.

From 1886 to 1889, he taught drawing, aesthetics, and geography in the schools of Van.

After moving to Tiflis in 1893 looking for work, he worked in Tiflis first as a woodcutter, then in a printing house as a typewriter, and the editorial office of the "Mshak" newspaper as a spreader. In 1895, he left for St. Petersburg and entered the school of the company promoting fine arts. He studied in the studio of academician Lev Dmitri-Kavkazsky in his second year. Khrimyan is studying with the pension appointed by Hayrik.

In 1898, he was admitted to the Julian Academy in Paris (teachers: Benjamin Constant and Jean-Paul Laurence). He regularly participated in the Society of French Artists and Orientalists exhibitions.

1900 At the student exhibition of the Julian Academy, the drawing "Nude Male Figure" wins the first prize.

In 1901, at the invitation of Hayrik Khrimyan, he went to Etchmiadzin, painted landscapes, and imitated Murillo’s "Intact Link." In 1904, he graduated from the Julian Academy and returned to Armenia. He lived in Etchmiatsin, Sanahin, and created the paintings "Tumanyan during the Hunt," "Shepherd of Lorets," "Courtyard of the Sanahin Monastery," and other etudes and landscapes.

From 1905 to 1908, Terlemezyan lived and created in Tiflis, taught at Nersisian and Hovnanian schools, and actively participated in cultural life.

In 1908, he went on a trip to Egypt, stayed in Cairo and Alexandria, went to Algeria, and from there to France.

In 1908–1910, he lived and worked in Paris, painting the portrait of Shirvanzadeh.

1910–1915: He lived in Istanbul; there, he established a close relationship with Komitas, Daniel Varuzhan, Siamanto, Yervand Otyan, and others. In 1907, he opened an art school in Istanbul with artist Levon Kyurkchian.

In 1912, Panos Terlemezyan went with Komitas to his birthplace, Kutina, where he created a portrait of Komitas.

In 1913, he organised the first solo exhibition. In the same year, he participated in the Munich International Exhibition. His painting "Courtyard of Sanahin Monastery" was awarded a gold medal.

In 1914, he made a creative trip to Van. He paints the landscapes "Mount Sipan from Ktutz Island" and "Lake Van."

In 1915, Van’s self-defence was organised, and the 23,000 Armenians living there were joined by thousands of Armenians who had taken refuge here from the surrounding villages. Panos Terlemezyan was also a member of the self-defence body. In the same year, he went to Etchmiadzin with the emigrants, and from there to Tiflis.

In 1916–1917, he was one of the organisers and founding members of the Union of Armenian Artists (1916) and its Rostov branch (1917).

In 1920–1923, he made creative trips to Paris, Italy, to paint sea scenes, including the portrait of singer Armenak Shahmuradyan.

In 1920, a joint exhibition by Terlemezyan and Levon Kyurkchian was organised at the Armenian Club of Istanbul.

In 1923–1928, he lived in America, in New York, Fresno, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He takes pictures of actors in New York and portraits of Abelyan and Hovhannes Zarifyan.

In 1924, he participated in the XIV Venice Biennale and organised individual exhibitions in New York. In America, he writes a will, according to which he donates his works and all his possessions to the State Museum of Armenia.

In 1925, a solo exhibition was held in Fresno.

In 1926, solo exhibitions were held in San Francisco, Fresno, and Los Angeles.

In 1928, at the invitation of the Armenian government, Terlemezyan returned to his homeland and settled permanently in Yerevan.

In 1929, individual exhibitions were held at the Yerevan State Museum.

In 1928–1930, he made a creative tour to Goris, Kapan, Tatev, Alaverdi, and Dzorages, painting pictures on industrial themes, portraits of workers, and landscapes. He created the portraits of Romanos Melikyan, Avetik Isahakyan, Hrachya Acharyan, Axel Bakunts, and others.

In 1930, individual exhibitions were held in Tiflis.

In 1930, Panos Terlemezyan was awarded the title of Honorary Art Worker of the Armenian USSR. Awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.

In 1932, he became a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR.

Panos Terlemezyan died in 1941. In Yerevan. He was buried in the Pantheon of Komitas Park.

The government of Armenia named the Fine Arts College of Yerevan after Terlemezyan.

In 2015, a jubilee exhibition dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Panos Terlemezyan’s birth was opened at the National Gallery of Armenia.

Quotes about Terlemezyan

Terlemezyan’s artistic paintings, which reflect our wonderful mountainous homeland, will always be an ornament in our art galleries.
Martiros Saryan

Terlemezian is one of those individuals who have followed their time and the life of their motherland, not only in a creative sense but also with their lives.
Shahen Khachatryan

Ahmed Ibrahim

Full-fledged Content Creator & Tech Journalist. Worked previously with top publishers like AkhbarTech, Abda Adv, and RobbReportArabia.