Shahin, one of the most famous French-Armenian artists, was born in Vienna and first studied art under A. Paoletti in the Armenian Murad Rafayelian School in Venice. He then continued his education at the Academie Julien in Paris. An acknowledged master of etching, Shahin received gold medals at major international exhibitions in Paris in 1900, and in Venice in 1903.
The artist’s favorite genre was portraiture, and here we see his virtuoso drawing skills and precise understanding of the inner world of his sitter. Shahin’s urban landscapes are highly poetical and the critic Camille Mauclair said of his Venetian series:
“In Venice Shahin took the prize for originality. He showed his ability to see that which others pass by”.
The artist often turned to Armenian themes and maintained close links with his native land, presenting his best works to the state. In 1928 he was elected an honorary member of the Armenian Union of Artists. In 1990 a museum devoted to the life and work of Shahin was set up in the historic Normandy village of Crouttes.