Marcos Grigorian and his Armenian family immigrated to Iran from Russia in 1930. He studied at the Kamāl-al-Molk Art School in Tehran from 1948 to 1950. After graduating he moved to Rome, where he received a degree from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts). Upon his return to Tehran in 1954 he opened the modern art gallery Esthétique and initiated a collection of Iranian coffeehouse paintings—a folk genre. In 1956 he participated in the Venice Biennale for the first time, and two years later returned as an Iranian delegate and an International Jury member. In 1958 he organized the first Tehran Biennial. With his late 1950s mural series The Gates of Auschwitz Gregorian became one of the first artists to commemorate the Holocaust. Around the same time he initiated his acclaimed “Earthworks” series, in which he created textured surfaces by fixing materials like sand, earth, and ashes to canvas. He lived in the United States from 1962 to 1970, returning to Iran after the Iranian Revolution. In the 1970s he joined the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University and founded the Independent Artists Group. Gregorian established the Arshile Gorky Gallery, New York in 1980 and the Near East Museum of Yerevan in 1993.