Valerii Gegomian (1925-2000) is a wonderful Ukrainian artist of Armenian descent. Mr Gegomian was a student of Martiros Saryan, the founder of the Faculty of Fine and Graphic Arts of the Odesa Pedagogic Institute and a mentor of the outstanding artists of the Odesa School. Oleksandr Roitburd, Serhii Lykov and Vasylii Riabchenko were among his students.
Gegomian is considered to be a representative of the so-called «Odesa Avantgarde». The powerful expression and tragic temperament of his teacher Saryan can be traced in Gegomian's works, especially in his monumental portraits. Apart from that, one can also single out the allusions to the Neo-Romantics and Modernists, Vrubel in particular. Gegomian's own life largely influenced his artistic style: he lost his Motherland and family. Valerii's father, famous actor Arutiun Khanagian, died in Stalin's labour camps, the artist was permanently changing his residence, moving around the outskirts of the USSR. Gegomian's life before Odesa was exceedingly challenging and unstable. In his final years, after the death of his wife, Valerii led a secluded life and created the epic paintings about the Armenian history («A Bloody Wedding», «The Flame of Sorrow», «Inflamed by Love»).
Valerii Gegomian rarely had any exhibitions during his lifetime – he was too shy and demanding of himself. The artist's posthumous exhibitions were organised by his students. Today, Valerii Gegomian is one of the most sought-after Ukrainian artists.