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Raphy en train de pendre dans son atelier. Raphy painting


Raphy was born on November 9, 1926 in Neuilly sur Marne. He is the second of a family of 3 children.

His mother, Khrigheni (Eugénie) ARAKELIAN was born in Istanbul from a family of musicians. She studied at the French College of this city. She became a drawing teacher and painter and was also an excellent pianist. His father, Pierre GAZRIGHIAN works as a tailor for ladies. They are both of Armenian descent; they come to FRANCE in 1923 and become French naturalized.

His first personal exhibition took place in Paris in 1972 at the RG gallery. His works were noticed and appreciated by critics and especially by Henri HERAUT. From then on, he invited him to exhibit for 10 years in his group at the Salon des Artistes Français as well as in many artistic events in Paris, in the provinces. He also regularly participates in the Salon d'Automne in Paris.


He exhibited in Ile de France in many cities where he won prizes and medals as well as the prize of the general council of Seine-Saint-Denis: Clichy sous Bois, Le Raincy, Villemoble, Montfermeil, Sevran, Neuilly-sur-marne, Noisy-le-sec...

His second personal exhibition in Paris took place in 1978 at the Ars Magna gallery. Michael BOUTIN, Director of the monthly magazine “L'Amateur d'Art”, devotes twice the cover of his magazine to him.

Fascinated by chemistry since the age of 12, Raphy began working in 1943 as a chemist's assistant and took evening classes at the CNAM for 7 years. He became a chemical engineer and joined L'Oréal in 1950 to then become a production engineer in charge of a research and industrial development laboratory.

He fell into depression in 1949 when his father died. He began to paint in 1950 and was reborn. 

In 1953, for 6 years, alongside his professional activity, he took drawing lessons at “MONTPARNASSE 80” with Henri-Georges ADAM- professor at the Beaux-Arts who worked with GIACOMETTI and PICASSO.

The research to achieve the affirmation and originality of his style is long. He painted without exhibiting for 10 years - until 1969.

In 1955, he acquired a watermill in Lavercantiere in the Lot. He painted there in the summer during his holidays. The Lot and its surroundings become a theme of inspiration for a few paintings.

In 1984, a personal exhibition took place at the Town Hall of the 2nd arrondissement. The CITY of PARIS also orders him a mosaic to decorate the initiation pool of the school of Via Vitruvius (Paris 20th district).



Raphy devant la mosaique de la piscine Vitruve

It was also in 1984 that he received the Silver Medal from the City of Paris. This distinction was followed in 1988 by the Grand Prix de France des Arts Plastiques and in 1992 by the First Prize at the Biarritz Art Festival.

In 1984, retired, Raphy left the Paris region and set up his studio in La Baule. He can finally devote himself fully to painting and will continue to paint daily until his last days. Pornichet, Le Croisic, Guérande, Mesquer, Saint Brévin les pins, Donges, Lamballe, Meslay du Maine, Saint André des Eaux. But also Tours in 1989 and Caen in 2004. 

A last personal exhibition will be organized in Paris in 2013 bringing together 45 paintings.

The artist died in 2022 at the age of 95. In more than 60 years, Raphy have produced around 250 works covering his favorite themes of inspiration and reflection. Permanently working on several canvases and alternating according to inspiration. He has sometimes completely taken over works completed several years ago.

Each painting represents the fruit of hundreds of hours of work, doubts and reflection on the theme that can extend over months or decades. Some photos bear witness tohe major transformations carried out on a work over the years. 

By remaining all his life away from any commercial system - by giving the public the only access key to understanding the work other than the canvas and its title, Raphy does nothing, says nothing to highlight before his work. He lets everyone judge and waits, even if he is no longer there?

"(...) to engrave the past on the present. In Art more than in anything else, the RISK is to be taken. Work all his life to somehow succeed in communicating his message, or fall into complete oblivion. Only TIME will sort it out. A hundred or two hundred years have passed so quickly! We will wait...! (to see) » 

Mort et transfiguration

Death and Transfiguration

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