WATERTOWN, Mass. — On Sunday, October 14, the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA) opened an exhibit paying homage to the Armenian painter and art historian Arshag Fetvadjian (1866-1947).
Born in Trebizond and trained in Rome, Fetvadjian became one of the most promi- nent Armenian painters of the late 19th century. He is known for his watercolor paintings of the archi
tectural monuments of the medieval Armenian city of Ani, as well as portraits of Armenians at the turn of the 20th century. He is also the designer of the currency and postage stamps of the first Republic of Armenia (1918–1920).
Following the creation of the Republic of Armenia in 1918, the members of the country’s Finance Ministry commissioned Fetvadjian to design the new currency to replace the Russian ruble, as well as stamps for the nascent state. Fetvadjian’s attractive designs fea- tured animal motifs that were found in Ani. The printing was con- ducted in Europe but just as the banknotes were being printed in Paris, Soviet Russia was completing its conquest of the republic. By December 1920, the Armenian state was finally absorbed by the Soviets. The ban- knotes thus were never put into circulation.
The new exhibit is featured in the museum’s third floor Contemporary Art Gallery.