Raffi Tokatlian Virtual tour
Raffi Tokatlian Biography
Raffi Tokatlian Commentary
Raffi Tokatlian Artist statement
My private Gallery -
Raffi Tokatlian, who was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1957, was raised in a family of artists. His grandfather, the only member of his Armenian family to survive the Turkish genocide of 1915, had emigrated to Lebanon. Tokatlian grew up with his grandfather’s stories of the genocide and his escape from Armenia, and they formed the emotional core of his sculptural work. His grandfather was an artist, as was his father, and he recalls that, “Everyday the three of us were painting or drawing, side by side.”

Part of Tokatlian’s education as an artist was reading the stories of mythology, which lead him to look at the mural of Pompeii, and to absorb the classical tradition of Greece and Rome. He was attracted to the art of the Italian Renaissance, particularly the sculptures of Donatello, with their sensuous curving forms. Among the artists Tokatlian notes as inspiring him are the15th century painter of dream-like visions Heironymous Bosch, the 20th centuty fantasist Paul Fuchs, and a range of Surrealist artists. In Shiele, Rodin, and Giacometti, Tokatlian found artists who used human form to especially expressive ends. He has described his style as “Surrealmythoclassical”, indicating the personal amalgam formed by all of his influences.

After completing his university studies in Beirut, in 1981 Tokatlian moved to Paris and spent two years at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
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