Hovsep Pushman was one of those rare artists whose work was appreciated by critics and collectors, and who enjoyed recognition and good fortune. In a 1932 one-man show at New York's Grand Central Art Galleries, the entire display of 16 Pushman paintings was sold before opening day's end.
Pushman, later a naturalized American citizen, was born in Armenia in 1877. At age 11, he held a scholarship at the Constantinople Academy of Art. By 17, he had gone to the United States and started teaching art in Chicago. He studied the culture of China, immersing himself in oriental art and perhaps philosophy. He then studied in Paris under Lefebvre, Robert-Fleury and Dechenaud. He exhibited his work at the Salon des Artistes Francais in Paris, winning a bronze medal in 1914 and a silver medal in 1921. He also was awarded the California Art Club's Ackerman Prize in 1918.
Pushman's artistic identity began to take shape after he opened his own studio in 1921. Robert-Fleury, upon seeing one of Pushman's early studio still life's, advised the artist, "That painting is you."
Thereafter, Pushman's career was devoted to one subject, oriental mysticism, and one form, the still life. His paintings typically featured oriental idols, pottery and glassware, all glowing duskily as if illuminated by candlelight. They were symbolic, spiritual paintings, and were sometimes accompanied by readings, which help explain their allegorical significance. Most important, they were exquisitely beautiful, executed with technical precision. "Austere Solitude" exemplifies the stunning beauty, mysterious mood and impeccable technique that made Pushman's work so highly respected.
Pushman died in 1966 in New York City.
American Art Association of Paris
California Art Club
Detroit Institute of Arts
Houston Art Museum
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin
Minneapolis Art Museum, Minnesota
Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
New Britain Institute, Connecticut
Norfolk Art Association, Virginia
Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa
Rockford Art Guild, Illinois
San Diego Fine Arts Society
Seattle Art Museum
Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries, www.antiquesandfineart.com/roughton
Known for his mystical still-lifes, Hovsep Pushman had a celebrated career in the beginning of the twentieth century. Born in Armenia, Pushman received a scholarship to attend the Constantinople Academy of Art when he was only eleven years-old. From there, his career took him from the Art Institute of Chicago to China, where he acquired a deep-seated interest in Asian art, to Paris, where he trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and won medals from the Salon des Artistes Francais. He eventually settled in New York, opening his own studio in 1921 and earning praise from critics and collectors. Inspired by his Eastern heritage and experience of Chinese art, Pushman created still-life paintings of oriental objects -vases, idols, and tapestries-lit by a mysterious glow. Exquisitely-detailed and darkly-beautiful, the paintings also carried symbolic, allegorical meanings. Pushman exhibited at the Paris Salon, the National Academy of Design, the Corcoran Gallery Biennials, the Salmagundi Club, and the California Art Club. His 1932 solo show at Grand Central Art Galleries sold out by the end of the first day. His work may now be found at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Butler Institute of American Art, the San Diego Museum of Art, and other esteemed public collections.
Biography courtesy of Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, www.antiquesandfineart.com/questroyal