Varujan Yegan Boghosian (born 1926 New Britain, Connecticut) is an American artist, best known for his sculptures and assemblages. Since 1958 he has held teaching positions at the University of Florida, Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, Yale University, Brown University and Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, Boghosian was a member of the art faculty from 1968 to 1995. He was awarded an endowed position as the George Frederick Jewett Professor of Art in 1982. Boghosian retired from Dartmouth in 1995 and has since continued his work as a practicing artist.
The son of Armenian immigrants, Boghosian was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut. His father was a cobbler who later worked for Stanley Tools (now Stanley Black & Decker). Boghosian’s early schooling was traditional although he benefited from classes taught by the poet Constance Carrier, who introduced him to the world of literature.
Boghosian served in the U.S. Navy, during World War II. Returning to the U.S in 1946 he was able to attend college on the G.I. Bill. Initial studies with the artist Henry Hensche were followed by instruction at Yale University, where Boghosian was taught by Josef Albers.
Art and Influences
Boghosian’s art draws inspiration from a variety of sources including literature, art, history and music. Allusions to myth and poetry pervade his work. Explorations of the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, for instance, have been a central and continuous theme throughout his career. Closely linked to this fascination with classical myth is Boghosian’s recurring use of symbols such as swans and serpents, both of which are rooted in a strong tradition of cross-cultural mythology.
Building upon the traditions of Surrealism and Dadaism Boghosian’s assemblages and collages playfully contemplate the boundaries between dream and reality. In creating his art, Boghosian draws heavily on his extensive personal archive of found objects, gathered together in his home and studio. The images and objects that he utilizes often bear the mark of time and his creations frequently juxtapose groups of seemingly unrelated objects together. In describing his artistic process, Boghosian is quoted as saying “I don’t make anything. I find everything.”
Career Development and Recognition
A significant step in Boghosian’s early career occurred in 1953 when he received Fulbright Fellowship which allowed him to study in Italy. Later opportunities to work abroad were facilitated by fellowships from the American Academy in Rome (Artist in Residence 1966) and the Guggenheim Foundation (Guggenheim Fellow 1985). Boghosian is also an elected member of the American Academy and the National Institute for Arts and Letters.
Boghosian has been presented in eight one-man exhibitions at Berta Walker Gallery as well as at the Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College; The Arts Club of Chicago; Marisa Del Re Gallery, New York; Boston Public Library; DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA; and the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, among others. Group exhibitions include the Art Institute of Chicago; Musee d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris; Pratt Manhattan Center Gallery; The New School Art Gallery, New York; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; Yale University, School of Art & Architecture; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Whitney Museum of American Art; Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL; and internationally in England, France and Italy.
His work is in the public collections of Brooklyn Museum; University Art Museum of the University of California Berkeley; Indianapolis Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art; New York Public Library; Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, among many others. Notable retrospectives include a 1989 exhibition at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College and a 2013 exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art.
- Varujan Boghosian, Wall Street Journal, ‘Altered States', ‘Varujan Boghosian’ at the Toledo Museum of Art’; May 7, 2014
- Video of Varujan Boghosian Shopping at the Maumee Antiques Mall; Maumee, Ohio, May 5, 2014:
- Varujan Boghosian, Art Daily, ‘Collages and Sculptures by Varujan Boghosian go on exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art'
- Varujan Boghosian opens the season at Victoria Munroe Fine Art