Petre Otskheli – A progressive Georgian artist of 1930s that the world must know
10 November, 2015
Petre Otskheli – A progressive Georgian artist of 1930s that the world must know
Petre Otskheli , a Georgian artist renowned for his contribution to the theatrical arts in the 1920s was one of the most distinguished Georgian avant-garde painters of his time. Unfortunately, not much is known to the world of art about this great person and his extremely distinctive and modernist works. Even though, this theatrical wunderkind’s life was too short (1907-1937), like many geniuses he still managed to leave a priceless cultural heritage to Georgia as well as to the rest
of the world.
Born in Kutaisi, Otskheli studied at the Kutaisi’s school and the Tbilisi Academy of Fine Arts in the 1920s. During his life Petre worked as a scenic designer both in Georgia and Moscow. Amazed with his works and vision, a prominent Georgian director Kote Marjanishvili invited the young scenographer to work at his theatre in Kutaisi in 1928. The young artist’s skillful use of geometrical shapes in his works with art deco and expressionist elements earned him recognition, but, unfortunately, his flourishing talent soon fell victim to Stalin’s terror. Like many talented and progressively thinking individuals, he was considered to be a threat by the Communists. As a result, in 1937 the cruel regime claimed Petre’s life at a very young age. The artist was arrested and shot on trumped-up charges of treason.

Peter Otskheli works are simultaneously simple and extravagant. His sketches are completed, monumental works.

It is incredible how the artist managed to import and establish the particular style of art that was hunted with fire and sword by the Soviet ideology. Petre’s contribution was significant and his scenographic constructivism has had a lasting influence on the Georgian scenic design.

In 1939 Petre was no longer alive  when his sketches were put on display at the scenic design exhibition in London and his works of art earned a gold medal. Petre Otskheli has already occupied its honorable place among Georgian artists, now it is time for the rest of the world to get acquainted with this unique person and appreciate his works.

It was not until the late-1960s that articles about the artist first appeared in Soviet mass media and not until 1973 that the first album of his artwork was published.

Check out the pictures:

Sketch for Otello

Sketch for Otello

Sketch for Flying painter

Sketch for Flying painter

Sketch for Surami Fortress
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