Arpi Ermoyan — a longtime Westporter, and a major name in the world of commercial illustration — died last week. She was 99 years old.
Ermoyan was an illustrator, editor at Cosmopolitan in the 1950s and ’60s, worked at Doyle Dane Bernbach ad agency, wrote an important book called “Famous American Illustrators,” curated gallery exhibitions of illustration art, and for many years directed the Society of Illustrators. She was one of very few women to break through in that male-dominated field.
In 1953, she and her husband Suren — also a noted illustrator, who served as art director at Good Housekeeping — moved to Tanglewood Lane, off Stony Brook.
She became part of the vaunted Westport Illustrators group — again, one of the few female members.
According to the Illustration Art website:
Illustrators in Westport during this era used each other for models all the time, and Arpi was a favorite….Neighboring illustrators would stop by the house on Tanglewood Lane and before you know it, Arpi had to “put aside her drawing board and start modeling.” Several great illustrators of the era were inspired by her striking good looks and painted her into their illustrations.
In 1961, the Ermoyans moved from Westport. They sold their house to another, younger illustrator.
Perhaps you’ve heard of him: Bernie Fuchs.
(Hat tip: Kevin McConnell)
I got to know Arpi, along with Kevin’s dad, the legendary illustrator Gerry McConnell, when I was a struggling young artist in New York City in the early 1970s. At that time Manhattan was still considered a frontier for intrepid (often broke) artists, and similar to earlier days in Westport, we were all blessed to be a part of a special time, a coming together of amazingly talented artists, writers, photographers, editors and more. But Arpi’s extraordinary artistic and intellectual gifts — not to mention resume — stood out from the crowd, and wowed everyone. I was quite taken with her charm, smarts, beauty and grace, and I was not alone in that! She was also a very warm and special soul. Those of us who knew her were blessed.