Yenovk Der Hagopian (Armenian: Ենովք Տեր-Հակոբյան; May 24, 1900 – March 15, 1966) was a 20th century American-Armenian artist, sculptor and musician.
Yenovk Der Hagopian was born in Ishkhanikom, Western Armenia, near Van, Turkey. His father was a priest at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. During Armenian Genocide Yenovk fled to Yerevan with the help of an American missionary. In 1916 he studied art in Tiflis, later was employed in the Near East Relief Foundation, in 1918-1923 he had been the director of two orphanages in Nor Bayezid and Yerevan. During the “February Uprising” he served in the military and was shot in the leg. Der Hagopian walked with a limp his entire life carrying the bullet in his leg. He married Nevart Kalarchian in August 1948, and was the best friend of Arshile Gorky.
In 1923 Der Hagopian immigrated from Turkey to United States, settled in Boston. Later he met Gorky in Watertown, Massachusetts who help to find a job for him at the Hood Rubber Factory. He attended courses at the Massachusetts School of Art studying painting and drawing, in addition to the Copley Society Art School. In 1930 Der Hagopian moved to New York City and during the 1930’s he participated in group exhibits and solo exhibitions, with his modern oil paintings featured in both New York City and Boston. Most of his subjects were religious, and many focused on the Turkish Terror of 1915. In 1939 he created Night in Exile carving which depicts the plight of an Armenian family. Later he created a painting with same title.
During the 1960s, he produced seven carvings replicating the architecture of ancient Armenian churches, which entered the collection of the Armenian Museum of America after his death. The models were made of wood, stone, and metal. The New York Times reviewed the church sculptures, stating that Der Hagopian was preserving Armenian heritage in the work, as each sculpture represented a scale model of the principle churches and monestaries of old Armenia - including some dating to the third century AD. His largest models would take three weeks to complete, using photographs and blueprints of the churches as a template for the pieces. A large portion of his unknown work was rediscovered by his granddaughter during a home renovation at the end of the twentieth century.
Der Hagopian's family in Armenia was employed in music, including travelling musical troubadours. In 1942 artist Hyman Bloom introduced Der Hagopian to composer Alan Hovhaness. Hovhaness stated of him that, “I became closely connected with Yenovk Der Hagopian, who was a fine singer of folk music, a fine troubadour type of singer. A singer of Sayat Nova. A singer in pure style. This proved to be a great influence.” In 1943 Yenovk released his first album, entitled Ashoogh Records Volume 1, which included eight Armenian folk songs. The New York Times reviewed the album, writing that Der Hagopian, "Convey[ed] the flavor of the folk style". In 1946 he released a second album entitled Ashoogh Records Volume 2. Over his career, Der Hagopian performed public concerts in the northeast US, including for the American-Soviety Music Society. Der Hagopian donated all the royalties he made from his albums to the church.
In 1985 Yenovk’s a large wooden khatchkar depicting images of Van entitled “In Memory to the Countless Armenian Martyrs of 1915” was displayed at Arlington Cemetery during services commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In 2016 Armenian Museum of America (AMA) showed 20 works of artist in an exhibition entitled “Untold Story of an Armenian-American Artist.” Following the opening in Brooklyn and a stop at the Armenian Museum of America, the exhibition will travel to Los Angeles, Washington DC, Miami, Toronto, and Paris, France.