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Ervand Demirdjian (1870-1938) Art Work
ERVAND DEMIRDJIAN: (1870-1938). Ervand Demirdjian was born in May1870 in Constantinople where he studied fine arts and graduated withhonors in 1890. In 1893 he went to Paris and enrolled in the “AcademieJulian” becoming a student to painter Jean Paul Laurens and to thefamous orientalist Benjamin Constant. At the same time he worked at theLouvre studying and copying classical works such as Delacroix, Dante andVirgil.

After returning to Constantinople he was faced with the persecution ofthe Turks against the Armenians. In 1896 he fled with a group ofArmenians and reached Alexandria and from there he moved to Cairo.Together with 2,000 other Armenian refugees he began a miserable lifeuntil the local Armenian community led by Decran Pasha did its best toshelter and feed them. After a short time Demirdjian was able to become apart of the Egyptian popular life and started studying their mode oflife and mannerism. This led to an enormous quantity of drawings andpaintings documenting everyday life.

He participated in some of the annual exhibitions of the Circle ofArtists which is the first artistic group in modern Egypt. In 1901 hebegan lecturing art and teaching in the Khorenian Armenian School wherehe tutored students privately and the most talented was the knownpainter Diran Garabedian (1882-1963) who became his successor and one ofthe first avant-garde in Egypt.
Ervand Demirdjian lived and worked satisfied in a flat on a roof ofa khan in M.Ali Street, not far from Islamic Cairo where he got most ofhis inspiration. But under the pressure of need he began teaching atAnathor School in Boulac and from time to time he accepted commissionsto paint portraits.

Demirdjian is known for his orientalistic subjects where he excelled inthe the social scenes of old Cairo and the Nile. To summarize his workwe can say that Demirdjian began as an orientalist but later during hiscreative years he became truly an Egyptian artist and that is why he canbe classified as both. In addition he was the first Armenian Egyptianprofessor painter in modern Egypt.

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