Garo Z. Antreasian, noted painter, lithographer, and art educator passed away at the age of 96 years on November 3, 2018. He was born the son of Zareh and Takouhie Antreasian on February 16, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was preceded by his wife, Jeanne, and is survived by his son David Antreasian and wife JoAnn, Albuquerque, his son Thomas Antreasian, Los Lunas, and his brother Dr. Berj Antreasian and wife Dolores of Indianapolis, and many nieces and nephews.
Garo’s parents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the earliest household memories of his upbringing focused on the culture, language, and background of his Armenian heritage as related by his mother and grandmother who were determined that he never forget the saga of his family roots. Throughout his life, Garo was always aware of the duality of his cultural beliefs which had a profound influence on his imagination and creative endeavors.
Garo’s introduction to lithography and study leading to a career in Art began at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis. He then attended John Herron Art School as a scholarship student. His studies were interrupted by World War II whereupon he enlisted in the Coast Guard and served duty as a combat artist aboard an amphibious landing ship. He depicted action in the Pacific invasion of Manilla, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the early occupation of Japan. After the war, he completed his studies at Herron and began teaching there even before receiving his degree in 1948. In the 1950’s, his own creative work began to receive awards and critical regional and national attention. In 1960, he was appointed to Technical Director of the newly formed Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, a pilot project to revive fine art lithography in America. In 1964, he joined the faculty in the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico and in 1970, became co-director of Tamarind Institute at UNM. He also continued to teach in the Department of Art until retirement in 1986
Honors include an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana/Purdue University, Indianapolis, visual Artist Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Annual New Mexico Governor’s Award. He was a Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Artist to Brazil as well as a member of the National Academy of Fine Arts, New York.
As a teacher and lecturer at UNM and Tamarind, he influenced and inspired the education and creative work of many students. As a husband and father, he inspired the lives of his family. He defined for us the meaning of a rich full life, with love and humor as well as the values of patience, tolerance and kindness. One of his personal motivations was an ongoing sense of curiosity and he took time to travel, read, and enjoy life with his family. Yet he was also a prolific, disciplined worker, creating artwork up to the last days of his life.
His prints and paintings have been acquired by numerous major public and private museums and university collections including the Metropolitan, Guggenheim, Whitney, the National Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. His work is also represented in the collections of art museums in Indianapolis, Albuquerque, University of New Mexico, and many other cities throughout the United States.
Upon his request, Garo will be cremated and there will be no memorial service at this time. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Friends who desire may contribute to UNM Department of Art, Tamarind Institute, or the charity of their choice.