30-Year- Old Painter Who Made History
19 July, 2012
30-Year- Old Painter Who Made History

On July 13, 2012, the National Gallery, also known as the Blue gallery, hosted a splendid exhibition. It offered the exposition entitled  “Petre Otskheli – Retrospective”. 

 

The exhibition was dedicated to the 105th anniversary of the birth of Petre Otskheli, outstanding  Georgian modernist designer of stage scenery and costumes. He was put to death during Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge at the age of 30, but his scenic constructivism has had a lasting influence on Georgian stage design. The exposition presents around

200 sketches of costumes and sets of theatre productions, as well as the patterns of weaving painting, photos and unique documents from the collections belonging to the State Museum of Theatre, Music, Cinema and Choreography and the Museum of State Drama Theatre named after Kote Marjanishvili.

Born in Kutaisi, Otskheli studied at the Kutaisi Realschule and Tbilisi Academy of Arts in the 1920s. Through most of his career Otskheli had a creative relationship with stage director Kote Marjanishvili who invited the young artist to his theatre in Kutaisi in 1928. Otskheli’s visual experiments and skillful use of stage for massive designs with a series of subtle elements, earned him recognition but he was persecuted by Stalin’s lieutenant in the Caucasus, Lavrenti Beria. In 1936, Otskheli fled Beria’s harassment to Moscow where he was recruited by his fellow countryman Sergo Amaghlobeli, then the director of Moscow Maly Theatre. In 1937, both Otskheli and Amaghlobeli were arrested and shot on trumped-up charges of treason.

Nikoloz Rurua, Minister of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia commented for the media: “The exhibition of Petre Otskheli has never been implemented in such a big scale. I want to congratulate all our artists with a pleasant novelty: from now on, the prize named after Petre Otskheli will be awarded annually in three nominations. “

Davit Lortkipanidze, General Director of the National Museum said: “Petre Otskheli is one of the most prominent artists of contemporary Georgia. He was only 30 years old when he was shot. However, he left marvelous creative works, the works that still await a detailed research and further recognition.”

The exhibition “Petre Otskheli – Retrospective” was supported by the Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monuments’ Protection. The display will go on till September 10, at the National Gallery.

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