Niko Pirosmani

1862 (Mirzaani (Géorgie)) / 1918 (Tbilissi (Géorgie))
Artist's gallery

Niko Piromanishvili, the poor son of a horticulturist from the remote province of Kakhetia, spent his career as a guard on the Transcaucasian railway and then as a dairy product salesman, before becoming a wandering painter. Soliciting commissions from the innkeepers of Tbilisi, he produced signs on tin or stalls of hanging food, portraits of groups or individuals (of Queen Tamar or the French cabaret singer Marguerite de Sèvres, for whom, according to legend, he even filled a street with flowers). Painted on black waxed canvases, these dark figures seem to emerge from a deep original night. Poorly paid for a few glasses of wine, this proud beggar drastically simplified his visions, often inspired by postcards, to paint effigies of exotic animals with big black melancholy eyes, Persian lions in the sun or women with drums, derived from representations of the Qadjar dynasty. While academic circles paid lip service to this holy drinker, the Symbolist poet Titsian Tabidzé saw in Pirosmani the source of a renewed ritual.

Artist's issues

Issue 109

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