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Charles Garabed Atamian - On the beach

Charles Garabed Atamian

On the beach

Oil on canvas: 28.7 x 35.2 (in) / 73 x 89.5 (cm)
Signed lower left: Atamian / Ch

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Armenian Istanbul 1872 - 1947 Paris

Ref: CA 210


On the beach


Signed lower left: Atamian / Ch

Oil on canvas: 28 ¾ x 35 ¼ in / 73 x 89.5 cm

Frame size: 35 x 42 in / 88.9 x 106.7 cm






Private collection, Japan


In the foreground of this luminous, tranquil beach scene, two contented children rest on the sand. A little girl with a sea-green bow in her hair intently studies the sand, seeming to sketch out an image with her figure, a bucket by her knee. An older boy in white linen shirt and trousers, most likely her brother, lays on his front observing her actions while holding a blue and red ball in his right hand, perhaps resting after a game. In the middle ground and into the distance other children play further demonstrating the delights of the seaside; laying the foundations for an outstanding castle, collecting wet sand or shells and returning from a swim. This large, idyllic composition is made up of bands of soft, soothing colour; the buttery, golden tones of the sand take up the majority of the work, above which the gorgeous light turquoise of the clear, calm sea breaks in white and almost yellow waves before it deepens to blue upon the horizon and above that the iridescent gradations of an almost cloud free sky. 


This glorious summer vista was most likely painted on the Grande Plage at Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie in the Vendee region of Western France, on what is known as the Côte de Lumière. Charles Atamian painted there for several months during the summer between 1929 and 1939, having first visited on the advice of a friend in 1923. Sadly the artist never returned after the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1992 Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie named Atamian an honorary citizen of the city and the following year an avenue was named after him. The artist’s granddaughter bequeathed a collection of 42 paintings to the city in 1995.


A painter and illustrator, Charles Garabed Atamian, was born in Constantinople (now Istanbul) to Armenian parents and completed his early education at the local French School, Lycée Français Saint-Benoît, before training in Venice at the Collegio Armeno Moorat Raphael and the Accademia di Belle Arti. He returned to Constantinople in 1894 before leaving Turkey for Paris in 1897. Atamian found success illustrating books, magazines and newspapers, as well as producing artwork for theatrical productions before exhibiting paintings in oil from 1903 onwards at the Salon d’Automne and at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts between 1913 and 1942, becoming an associate and later a member.







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