Armenian-American Artist Wins Posthumous Fame

A landscape dissolves into reds, yellows, and greens. A mountain in New York State is filtered through an artist’s imagination, rendered on canvas in angular patches.

These were among the visions of Arthur Pinajian, an unknown Armenian-American painter whose death in 1999 prompted little more than the rental of a dumpster. The dumpster was to be filled with decades’ worth of his writings and pencil sketches and a garage-full of paintings that numbered close to 6,000.

Today, Pinajian’s work hangs on the well-lit walls of a SoHo gallery. Leading art historians say that, at his best, he ranks among America’s finest abstract expressionists. His estate has been appraised at $30 million. After several kind twists of fates, Pinajian has been vaulted out of obscurity and is now gaining improbable posthumous fame.

The first twist came with a real estate venture by a man named Thomas Schultz. It was 2005 when Schultz stumbled upon

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