A Legendary Artist Revisited
Unknown to many, Niko Pirosmani is revered as a legend in his native Georgia. Conveying a sense of poignant empathy, his portraits, animal paintings, landscapes and scenes from everyday life painted around 1900 in a flourishing Tbilisi draw on medieval iconography and testify to a deeply felt sense of belonging. At the same time, the avant-garde recognised a novel and radically new form of painting in his work. Like Henri Rousseau or Marc Chagall, Pirosmani is one of the exceptional yet difficult to categorize proponents of early modern art.
This catalogue demonstrates Pirosmani’s qualities in numerous illustrations, showing how his rapid brushstrokes on black oilcloth give the sparsely applied colors a glow as if coming from a dark depth. Pirosmani was a master of concentration-and a storyteller. As expertly explained in the catalogue by a selection of Georgian art historians, he was a unique artist, a contradictory figure and an important part of the art scene in Tbilisi, then considered the “Paris of the East.”