The End of an Era
04 September, 2014
The End of an Era
“Famous collectors were buying his works. He was by far the most expensive and sought after artist in Georgia. When a Georgian artist’s pictures are valued so highly during his life, it means that he is very special” – says professor and art-critic Davit Andriadze, PhD. about Edmond Kalandadze, one of the biggest Georgian artists of modern times. It should be noted that the movie about Edmond Kalandadze was shot after the script by David Andriadze.

– Edmond possessed one
human weakness – it was women. Woman for him represented an aesthetic phenomenon. Most of Edmond’s works is filled with huge eroticism. It is sensitivity taken to the extreme, contagious temperament that cannot be tamed. There are good, serious artists, masters who don’t feel women at all. Edmond’s whole artistry lied in the breaking of an erotic code. In this regard, his legendary adventures have taken somewhat odious turns. The artist, who was past his 80s, was still using live models. Relationships with a model filled him with happiness. When we were shooting a movie about him according to my script, he said that he really wanted to see a naked mulatto woman; he said that he adored their hazelnut backsides. The producer tried to please Mr. Edmond, but, unfortunately, he could not find any mulatto ladies for him…He complained:

– “And how badly I wanted to paint those hazelnut backsides,” – There was so much emotion and passion in these words uttered by an 88-year-old man.

As every great artist, he was egocentric. A certain form of narcissism even suited his nature. He was an utterly intelligent and aristocratic person. He always kept his distance with everyone, never really mixed with the masses. He knew his worth and chose his friends accordingly.

During Edmond Kalandadze’s lifetime some started to fake his pieces. Edmond saw some of the fake works and wished to meet one of its authors. When the faker saw Edmond Kalandadze in person, he told him that he loved his work and asked him to teach him how to paint. Edmond replied that it was impossible to teach how to paint in general and pointed to the mountain on one of his paintings. He said: “ I can teach you how to paint a mountain, but it will never be the same because in my case, there is my mother’s graveyard at the foot of it”…

When Zviad Gamsakhurdia came to power, Edmond Kalandadze became the first Minister of Culture of a free Georgia. When he became the Minister, the first thing he did was to bring easels to his Cabinet, since working for 24 hours was his way to go…

He was perfectly acquainted with the world history of art and enjoyed his own specific understanding of it…He did not really enjoy traveling and had only been to very few countries. He had never seen the frescoes of Pompeii, but he could speak about them endlessly…

His pictures created a complete revolution in Georgian painting. Huge, passionate energy hides beyond each work of his. Edmond was a powerful person, a person of contrasts with a contagious temperament and all of this created the phenomenon of Edmond Kalandadze…

Financially he was never poor. He was a successful painter and famous collectors were purchasing his pieces. He was by far the most expensive and sought after artist in Georgia. When a Georgian artist’s pictures are valued so highly during his life, it means that he is very special…
When Edmond Kalandadze’s art afficionado– Temur Iakobashvili departed for America in the role of an ambassador, he took 20 pieces of Edmond’s with him, which he later hung at the Georgian Embassy. Temuri was very excited when he spoke about Americans’ admiration for the pictures. No insult intended for the Americans, but art like this does not exist there, even in Europe it is very hard to find.
He was 90 years old when he said he was finally able to master his instruments. He still worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. He just painted and painted; he did not do much else. He had his workshop in Vake. Every day he would visit his workshop and paint.
Edmond Kalandadze’s exhibition had been opened for two weeks when he passed away. The exhibition is still ongoing.

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