- Laurence Libin
(b Izmir, Turkey, Aug 18, 1911; d New York, NY, Oct 21, 1999). Armenian luthier. To escape pogroms his family fled in 1922 to Salonika where Papazian excelled in drawing, rug design, and academic subjects, took violin lessons, and worked in his brother’s furniture business. After World War II he emigrated to Argentina where he began making instruments, including guitars, for wholesale, by copying available models. In 1956 he settled in New York, joining an older brother who was a sculptor. Papazian soon opened a prolific independent workshop and developed his own Spanish-inspired guitar design by about 1960. He became a US citizen in 1983. Before retiring in 1981 Papazian completed about 900 guitars and some 40 lutes as well as archlutes, ‘uds, violins, and several violoncellos, generally employing a fragile red-orange varnish on high-quality Brazilian and European woods. His robust guitars, some owned by prominent players, are noted for their intricate marquetry which often incorporates his name around the soundhole....