Sam Tchakalian Biography

Sam Tchakalian




Sam Tchakalian, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in Shanghai, China in 1929. His family relocated to California in 1947 and, after serving in the U.S. Army, Tchakalian enrolled in San Francisco City College, where he received his AA degree in 1950 and his BA in 1952, and finally his MFA in 1958. Tchakalian began his influential teaching career in 1961 when he joined the painting faculty of the Museum of Modern Art. Between 1962 and 1963, he was guest lecturer at the California College of Art and Crafts. In 1964 he became a painting instructor at the College of San Mateo until he joined the faculty of the San Francisco Art Institute (formerly the California School of Fine Arts) in 1966.

His exhibitions during this time include the annual exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art between 1958 and 1965, Recent Developments in Bay Area Art (1964, San Francisco Museum of Art), Painters Behind Painters (California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1967), The West Coast Now (Portland Art Museum, 1968), 40 Now California Painters (Tampa Bay Art Center, 1968), Contemporary American Painting (Whitney Museum of American Art, 1969), and Twentieth Century American Paintings (California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1969).

His solo shows include a twenty year retrospective at the Oakland Museum in 1978 as well as shows at the Portland Center for the Visual Arts, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Tchakalian¹s work is represented in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum and the Milwaukee Art Center.

Tchakalian set up his studio on Duboce Street in San Francisco in 1957; it remained his studio until his death in 2004.