In Paris (1926 -1928)
After the success at Moscow exhibition, Saryan got an opportunity to travel abroad. 'I certainly wanted to visit the capital of artists - Paris', Saryan confessed.
Arriving in Paris, the artist, who had already gained a steady and considerable reputation in Russian and Armenian modern art, worked to enhance and advance his art striving to apply anew the experience of French Post-impressionism to already formed principles of his own style. Thus, he managed to synthesize the pictorial traditions of the East and the West.
Saryan wrote from Paris to his friend, artist N.Ulyanov, 'Artists here work in an interesting manner. You can find everything here. But the most important you feel the smell of art… From the beginning of the war (WWI), as consequence of a shock (the Socialist Revolution), we lost a lot. Now I try to revitalize myself and summarize what I have done for long years'. (“Martiros
Saryan. Letters”, p.379).
A. Efros, the famous Russian critic, who met Saryan in Paris, wrote: 'He didn't strive to be a Parisian. He didn't trouble about glory… Here he lived for himself and … studied. There were sketches on the easel, at his studio walls, the ones that Parisian neophytes used to do... The creative tactics was obvious. He yet again was making his way through to the best of himself '. (“About
Saryan”, p. 127).
In Paris, Saryan twice exhibited his works at exhibitions of Russian and Armenian
art. But his personal exhibition opened in January of 1928 in the Sh.O.Girard
salon was the most remarkable. The text for the exhibition catalogue was written
by famous critic Luis Voxelle. This exhibition comprised about 40 paintings created
by the artist in Paris. The Armenian theme, which acquired a new stylistic elaboration,
prevails in these works. Only in some of his sketches Saryan turns to the nature
of France, depicts the Seine and Marne banks and a view from his studio. At these
years the artist also made stage designs to the play 'Zuleyka' by K. Gozzi for
the 'Bat' theater of N. Baliev. Saryan's art was a great success which was rare
for a foreigner. The 'exam', as the painter himself said, was passed. However,
presently it is difficult to assess this important period of the artist's creative
evolution. Regretfully, on the voyage back to Armenia, Saryan's paintings burned
down. 'The French ship Firgi that was transporting my paintings was supposed to
embark eggs in the Novorossyisk port. That was the reason sawdust was loaded with
the cargo. The boxes with paintings were put on the sawdust… In the port of Constantinople
the ship caught fire - accidentally or deliberately. Only a piece of a canvas
remanied from my 40 canvases ', the artist recalled with pain. (“Martiros
Saryan. From My Life”, p. 267). The only paintings that survived had been
sold by Saryan in Paris, as well as several small canvases that he had taken with
him. Among these works there were: ‘Mountains
the Spring’, ‘On
the Marne River’, ‘Out of the Studio Window’ (1927, the National Gallery of