The Life and Art of Sumbat by Levon Abrahamian


This book is about the life and art of author’s father, Sumbat (1913-1999), who was a renowned Iranian-Armenian artist, particularly admired for his watercolor and gouache renditions of Iranian and Armenian village scenes and landscapes. A descendant of 17th century Armenian settlers in the New Julfa district of Isfahan, he embodied the artistic traditions of his people and of his hometown. Through his art, he played the role of a mediator between East and West: He brought a European artistic style (lucid watercolor applied in loose brushwork) to Iran and he introduced Iranian lifestyle, folk traditions and landscapes to Western audiences. He lived in the United States during the last 19 years of his life. The book contains more than 180 reproductions of Sumbat’s paintings and drawings depicting Iranian, Armenian and American scenes and folk traditions. The author (Sumbat’s son) compiled the material over a period of 9 years, drawing on archival resources in Iran, Armenia and the United States, as well as interviews with Sumbat’s friends and relatives across the globe. He describes his father’s life through a series of intimate stories and quotations from other writers. The foreword is written by Armenian cultural anthropologist Levon Abrahamian. Harout Samuelian, also of Armenia, designed the graphics and layout of the book.