ARBÉ—a contraction of his given name, ARA BERBERYAN—was born with a brush in his hand. His father, a renowned professor of art and design and one of the finest watercolorists in the Soviet Union, schooled him in the finer points of creativity from seven years of age. “He taught me about composition, how to approach the canvas, and how to put thoughts down on canvas,” says ARBÉ.

Growing up in Soviet Armenia, ARBÉ received recognition for his talent early in life. The son of a well-known artist, and Professor of Art & Design, ARA BERBERYAN had his first Exhibition at the age of 12, on an International Tour called “The World by Childrens’ Eyes.”  This Exhibition visited France, Italy, Canada and the United States. 

Later, ARBÉ was invited to matriculate at the University of Art & Design in Yerevan, Armenia. Although it was difficult to locate books from the west, ARBÉ managed to obtain and study those of the artists he loved most : Dali, Picasso, Titian , Rembrandt, and Klimt. As a student of art & design books on Klimt especially inspired him.  He graduated with a Masters Degree in 1981 and promptly began his career as a fine artist by accepting government commissions for murals at the Yerevan Airport, theatres, hotels and other government projects.  

After graduating from the University he was employed in an Architectural Office, “Gostproect”, where he was asked to design facades for public buildings and office complexes. Here again, the ornamental gold designs and marbleized patterns of Gustav Klimt heavily influenced ARBÉ’S creations. 

ARBÉ’S originals are primarily oil on canvas, but he also incorporates a variety of other media into his work, creating a metallic texture in the abstract backgrounds of many of his paintings. He applies gold leaf, and sometimes silver leaf, and then works it with his tools and his hands into intricate patterns and textures that give his art a third dimension.  His palette is full of earth tones, with an occasional flourish of vibrant reds, blues, purple or lavender.  But always, grabbing your attention, is the gold — rich and luxuriously applied by hand and worked into delicate patterns representing the intricacies of life. 

The effect he achieves is a mixture of classical and modern.  Klimt is still clearly visible in the backgrounds of paintings like “This Is The Moment”, “The Favored One” or “Watching Over You” .  Others, reach back into his Armenian history and are influenced by biblical themes, legends and iconography.  Taken together, ARBÉ’S greatly varied body of work is filled with romance and drama, music and love. It is soothing and compelling, exciting and peaceful all at the same time. 

“I wish we could all live in harmony,” says the artist. “I know it sounds simple, but finding a good balance between the laughter and the angst we all experience, this is what is important in life, and what I try to capture in my art.”  

ARBÉ art in the

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