1929 – 2022

“My Asia Minor”, 1965. Color intaglio, etching, aquatint and soft ground, 24″ x 18 3/4″. This print was shown at the 1973 SAGA Annual Show.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of SAGA member and President (1973-74) Martin Barooshian, age 92, who passed away peacefully while taking a nap on January 25, 2022.

Martin was a groundbreaking American surrealist painter and master printmaker, as well as an internationally recognized expert in American and European prints and printmaking. He was taught painting by Karl Zerbe, lithography by Gaston Dorfinant, and intaglio etching by Stanley Hayter; he was friends with Armin Landeck and Gerald Geerlings, de Kooning and Paul Jenkins; he taught Barnett Newman to make lithographs. He always found himself at the center of dynamic art movements: Boston Expressionists then Atelier 17 then running the Pratt Institute Graphic Arts Center Workshop for Professionals where every hot NYC artist would go to learn and make prints or just hang out.

His greatest printmaking contribution was continuing to innovate and evolve color viscosity intaglio etching, pushing its limits in order to reach his artistic vision of imagined realities and dreamscapes. He would make images using a wide combination of various methods including hard ground, soft ground, mezzotint, aquatint, and drypoint all on a single plate.

His artwork is in the permanent collections of many of the world’s great museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the National Gallery of Art (Smithsonian), the Addison Gallery of American Art, the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Gallery of Armenia.

His complex yet life-affirming Surrealist works received international recognition for his artistic contributions. His art was exhibited in over 50 solo shows and hundreds of exhibitions. In a review of one of those solo shows in Boston in 2006, Boston Globe art critic Cate McQuaid dubbed Barooshian’s biomorphic surrealistic style as “Pablo Picasso meets Stan Lee.” Martin smiled after reading that review and said, “I’ll take that – I like both those guys!”

A Boston native and first-generation child of Armenian Genocide survivors, Martin was trained at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and also earned a B.S. in Education from Tufts University and a M.A. in Art History from Boston University. He continued his education at the famed Atelier 17 in Paris. Upon his return to the U.S., he settled in the greater New York City area where he taught printmaking at the Pratt Institute, and was a public school art teacher until his retirement. He also served as the works-on-paper expert at Swann Auction Galleries. He made art daily up until his last day, and was gratified at the resurgence of interest in his work in recent years.