Georgian-French Painter’s Dream Comes True
20 September, 2012
Georgian-French Painter’s Dream Comes True

Vera Paghava’s ‘Singing’ Paintings at National Gallery

After many years, the dream of the Georgian-born French immigrant Vera Paghava came true – the exhibition of her artistic works have reached Georgia, her homeland. The opening took place at the National Gallery, on September 14.

Thirty-five painting canvases, 28 graphic sketches and water-color works were displayed to the spectators. The organizers of the event are Vera Paghava Assosciation in Paris and Georgian National Gallery affiliated to the Georgian National Museum. The supporters are:

Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monuments’ Protection, Embassy of France in Georgia, French Institute of Georgia and the Bank Republic – Societe Generale Group.

Vera Paghava was born in 1907 in Tbilisi. Because of the illness of his father, the family left for Germany. Due to the Bolshevik Regime, they did not return to Georgia and went to live in Paris instead. The talented girl first entered the School of Decorative Arts where her tutor was a well-known artist and sculptor of those days, Andre Liote. In 1934-1939, Vera Paghava studied at the Arts and Advertisement Atelier associated with the Ranson Academy headed by Roger Bisier.  The Atelier was attended by Viera da Silva, Jean Le Mo and Alfred Manessier, all of whom later became famous painters. Her first exhibition was organized in 1944 in Jean Bousher, which was followed by a number of expositions of the Georgian painter in different cities of Europe. She was invited to Rome, Turin, Brussels, Berlin, Vienna, Stockholm etc.

In 1958, Vera Paghava was handed a special gold medal from the Rome’s Pope Ivan the 23th for her fresco-picture done in wood and was titled “Ascension Day”. At the Biennale of Venice held in 1966, France was represented by Vera Paghava and her works were given a separate pavilion. The Georgian emigrant died in 1988 at the age of 80 and is buried in Leuville Cemetery next to her parents.

Renaud Salins, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Georgia said: “I would like to thank all the parties, mainly the Ministry of Culture of Georgia, National Gallery and Societe Generale without whose help it would have been impossible to implement this project. Congratulations! I want to thank the Association of Vera Paghava Association that not only lent us the paintings but also has prepared the catalogue.”

Davit Lortkipanidze, Director General of the Georgian National Museum commented: “Paghava is a distinguished and aristocratic surname in Georgia. I want to ask Mr. Karaman Paghava, (famous contemporary Georgian doctor) as a worthy representative of this family name to say few words.”

“Mr. Ambassador, respected society! This is a nice day for everybody but specially for the Association of  Paghava surname representatives. I would like to remember Vera Paghava’s ancestors. Her father Yuri (Giorgi) Paghava stood in the vanguard of Georgian diplomacy in the Georgian Democratic Republic, while her grandfather was the manager of Kutaisi city bank. There was Gogita Paghava too, one of the leaders of anti-Bolshevik unity in Georgia, Akaki Paghava, one of the founders of the Institute of Theatre, scientists Irakli and Kote Paghava and many others. I would like to cap my speech by mentioning two wonderful personalities – Vera Paghava and Eter Paghava – Georgian ballet star, with whom I only share the same surname.”

Eliso Tarazashvili is the Director of Vera Paghava’s Association in Paris and the curator of the exhibition. She is the Georgian immigrant too.  She talked with Georgian Journal: “It was Vera’s dream to bring her works to Georgia. However, because of the Soviet Union, she could not achieve this goal. After so many years, her dream has come true and I am happy. It was my mother’s great wish too to exhibit her creative works in her motherland.”

Gia Bughadze, prominent Georgian painter said: “Unlike many others, I am not viewing her pictures for the first time. I saw them 25 years ago in the gallery of Tarazashvili in Paris and later, several times more. Vera Paghava is a unique painter. I would qualify her as the most exquisite and harmonious artist. I would call her the master of harmony;  such harmony is rarely seen. In spite of the fact that these works are modern in their form, they are at the same time very close to the national roots. If you observe the colors and tones and feeling of rhythm, they will remind you of our frescoes. European experience is felt in them, but they are not left without Georgian zest. I don’t talk out of nationalism, I talk out of the spiritual background that the painter possesses. These minimalist configurations are directly singing out from the walls.”

The unique exhibition will last for one month, till October 15.

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