Week 10: Where does art go?


March 9 is a leaf of an Armenian manuscript Four Gospels in Armenian. You don’t need an enlarged image to notice that its small prints underneath the date run longer than the rest. Apart from circa year of creation and medium, the credit line takes up two lines out of three. It reads:

Purchase, Fletcher Fund, Hagop Kevorkian Fund Gift, in memory of Hagop Kevorkian, Tianaderrah Foundation, B.H. Breslauer Foundation, Aso O. Tavitian, Karen Bedrosian Richardson, Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard and Arax Simsarian Gifts and funds from various donors, 2010

So who are/were they?

Hagop Kevorkian (1872–1962) “was an Armenian archaeologist, connoisseur of art, and collector…In 1951, he created The Kevorkian Foundation, which became one of the most important supporters for Middle Eastern studies in New York.”


Fletcher, Alphonse is the chairman and CEO of Fletcher Asset Management in 1991 and found not-for-profit private charitable organisation Fletcher Foundation in 1993. However, the first page of Google search result may tell you more than philanthropy, the fund is reported bankrupt and involved in a court case.



Likewise, searching “Tianaderrah Foundation”, you will read news about the history, a personal reason behind the foundation. It is “a personal philanthropy vehicle founded by Robert Gipson in 1996. The Iroquois word for “meeting place,” Tianaderrah is also the name of Gipson’s family home in Unadilla, N.Y., where his mother was raised.”


And B.H. Breslauer Foundation, a private charitable organisation with its  main purpose is to give grants to libraries and not-for-profit institutions that collect rare books and manuscripts.


And Aso O. Tavitian, a co-founder and major investor of a global software company,

and Karen Bedrosian Richardson, a director of a boutique insurance agency specializing in ex-patriot health insurance,

and Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard who owns a personal website which tells you anything about her life related to investment banking,

and Arax Simsarian whose search result leads to only one piece of news describing “a generous benefactor, now 91, had established, while at Aetna, where she worked, a fund to benefit Armenian culture”.

From this simple example, it may generalise a few rules of thumbs in collecting. A collector would be interested at a particular work that dealt with one’s own culture or simply one is rich (well, or at least be rich in bankruptcy). Period.




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