Thursday, June 14, 2012

Surprise in Santa Rosa, California: A painting by Mihran K. Serailian

Credit: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

If you're a member of that tiny race called Armenian, and you happen to live in the United States, whenever you take note of another Armenian, whether in person or in print, you get excited.  Don't know if that happens when you're Irish or English, but it sure happens to us Armenians.  And it happens in the oddest and most unexpected places. There we were in Santa Rosa, California, paying tribute to a childhood hero, Luther Burbank, Marash Girl's hero since reading the orange covered biography about him in 3rd grade.  We were being given a tour of his home, and there on the wall of his little house was a painted portrait of Luther Burbank in his garden in Santa Rosa, California.  ("Luther Burbank Home and Gardens (1 acre) is a city park containing the former home, greenhouse, gardens, and grave of noted American horticulturist Luther Burbank (1849-1926)." Luther Burbank Home & Gardens website.)

But look, called out niece Marina, (to whom we must credit these photos).  Look at the signature on the painting.
Not really believing our eyes, we looked further down and saw that our eyes were not deceiving us and that in fact, the painting was painted by fellow Armenian Mihran K. Serailian (see below).

As she wrote this blog recording her feelings of surprise and admiration for an artist who was hitherto unknown to her, Marash Girl checked the internet for any references she could find on the artist, and she found the following artist biography at


1867 - 1957

Mihran Kevork Serailian was born in Caesarea, Armenia on November 9, 1867. Having spent a considerable time in Egypt, he arrived in Boston in 1892 and then accepted a position to teach in Indiana at Taylor University. He settled in San Francisco in 1900. He was a good friend of Luther Burbank and did many botanical illustrations for him. His works include landscapes, florals and portraits.  Exhibitions: Bruner's Gallery (Santa Rosa), 1910; City of Paris (San Francisco), 1924; Hotel Huntington (Pasadena), 1926.  During the 1930's, he worked in New York City with his wife Marie.  He died in San Francisco on Sept. 7, 1957.
[His wife, Marie Serailian was born in Texas on May 29, 1889.    Mrs. Serailian died in San Mateo, CA on July 20, 1973.  An accomplished painter, her works are rare.]

Search as she might, Marash Girl found no additional information, other than one auction record.  Any information leading to the recovery of more info on this artist and/or his wife Marie Seraillian, also an artist, would be greatly appreciated!


  1. I am researching my Great Aunt, Gertrude F. Boyle Kanno who did Luther Burbank's bust in 1910 and from 1915-1931 lived in New York city. I just recovered some records and found Mihran K. Serailian 3720 83rd St. Jackson Hts, Newton 5765 listed on exhibition address list.

    I happened to grow up in Santa Rosa and had a paper route right behind the gardens.

    Good Luck on your search

    1. Thanks so much. I wonder if these two artists knew each other!

    2. My Father was an Armenian art collector. Gertrude Boyle was a friend of his, as was Serailian. I have art works by both of them. As well as letters and photos. I have a plaster sculpture by Ms. Boyle on my family's piano, now in my home, as well as one of her watercolors hanging on the wall above it ! My Dad lived at the Hotel Chelsea in NY City from circa 1907 until 1953. I came upon this blog while looking up Serailian on the Web, as a friend of mine just today expressed an interest in purchasing one of his paintings from me. It's possible Gertrude Boyle and Serailian may have met --- if only through my Father. I would love to meet Gertrude Boyle's great-niece.

    3. Gertrude knew Mihran K Serailian and also Luther Burbank very well. She did the bust of Burbank in 1910. I would really like to get in touch with Anonymous to get a picture of plaster and painting.

    4. Who is Gertrude? Don't know who Anonymous is!

    5. I have more info on the artist, as that painting came from my home and he was my great uncle. Serailian lived with Burbank for over 20 years. Feel free to contact me as we may be willing to let some of his paintings go.

    6. The Armenian community knows little about this artist. It would be wonderful if you could get in touch with the Armenian Museum of America in Watertown, Massachusetts, and plan an exhibition (and sale) of his works along with a talk about the artist's life! And if you could send more information about your uncle as a reply to this email.

  2. That address is in Queens.

  3. Hello. My name is Ashot Arakelyan, I'm from Armenia, Erevan. I'm an art historian, a lecturer. I'm writing book about Armenian painters of diaspora. Please help me, I want to talk with Erik, whose grandfather was Mihran Serailian and also with the person, whose father was an Armenian art collector My email is All the best Ashot