Elizabeth Tashjian

Elizabeth Tashjian (December 24, 1912 - January 29, 2007) was an artiste and the founder of the Nut Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut. She championed nuts through the museum, and by creating portraits of a variety of nuts and nutcrackers. She was the daughter of aristocratic Armenian immigrants and studied at the New York university of Applied Design for Women as without difficulty as the National Academy of Design. Later in life, she appeared on the shows of Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Howard Stern and Chevy Chase in the middle of others, to puff nuts and the Nut Museum.

At the age of seven, her parents divorced. By the age of nine, Tashjian was a concert violinist living when her mom in New York City's Upper West Side.

Tashjian remained unmarried throughout her life. In middle age, Tashjian followed her mother in becoming a Christian Science healer. She with espoused a tongue-in-cheek theory that humans had possibly evolved from nuts. In 1950, Tashjian and her mother moved into a large Gothic Revival mansion in Old Lyme. Upon her father's death in 1958 she studious he had left her nothing. She continued to enliven alone in her mansion past her mother's death in 1959.

Nuts were a lifelong passion. At the New York School of Applied Design for Women and the National Academy of Design, Tashjian created many paintings of nuts and nutcrackers - themes she would continue throughout her life. In 1972, Tashjian founded the Nut Museum in the mansion. The collection contained deserted twenty nuts, and was composed largely of her own artwork including higher than one hundred paintings, twenty aluminum sculptures, nut art, nut jewelry and a Nativity scene made definitely of nuts. Many specimens were donated by visitors. The Nut Anthem and Nuts Are Beautiful, two songs composed by Tashjian, were performed for all visitors. She hoped to expand the museum into a theme-park larger than Disneyland. Tashjian claimed she did not know the pejorative use of the word "nut" until after establishing her museum, but made frequent explanation suggesting she wanted to de-stigmatize the word and the people joined with it.

In 2002, after falling in to a coma, Tashjian was declared incompetent and a ward of the state. Despite religious beliefs refusing medical treatment, she recovered, but was confined to a nursing home. The contents of the Nut Museum were removed by Christopher B. Steiner, a professor of Art History and Museum Studies at Connecticut College, after he successfully petitioned the Old Lyme Probate Court to give a complimentary response the historic and artistic significance of the collection. The mansion was sold to pay her debts. Steiner remained a aficionada and modern for the get out of of her life.

In 2004, an exhibition of Tashjian's artwork, The Nut Museum: Visionary Art of Elizabeth Tashjian was held at the Lyman Allyn Museum in New London. It was organized by Steiner.

In 2005, Tashjian was declared competent. Her home had at this lessening twice been sold, when she began stroke to have it returned. The nut trees on the property had all been removed. She died in 2007.

Tashjian was a popular guest upon talk shows throughout the 1980s.
In a Nutshell, a 2005 film by Don Bernier, documented Tashjian's life. After her death, Steiner resumed work upon a book, Performing the Nut Museum: Elizabeth Tashjian and the Art of the Double Entendre, which has still to be published.

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