Painting of Niko Pirosmani to be sold at Sotheby’s
05 November, 2018
Painting of Niko Pirosmani to be sold at Sotheby’s
On the 27th of November painting by the prominent Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani (1862–1918) will be sold at Sotheby’s auction. Name of the painting is “Georgian Woman Wearing a Lechaki”. Lechaki, also known as veil, used to be part of women’s clothing in the past in Georgia.

Price of the painting ranges between 500 000 and 700 000 GBP.

Painting is included in the Russian section, however Sotheby’s webpage names Niko Pirosmani as the Georgian artist.

The painting was first acquired
by the Austrian author Stefan Zweig was introduced to the works of Niko Pirosmani in 1928 during a visit to Moscow. Zweig saw Pirosmani’s works in the Tretyakov Gallery. He declared that Pirosmani would be a ‘true discovery for Europe’ and nicknamed the artist the “great Piro”.
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Niko Pirosmani's painting at Sotheby's - Georgian Woman Wearing a Lechaki

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Rtveli or vintage in Georgia by Niko Pirosmani

Read more: Audrey Hepburn with Georgian Emmy Award winner

Zweig acquired the present lot during this trip and the painting quickly became his favourite. Zweig took the painting home in Salzburg. Following Zweig’s death in 1942 the painting remained in the possession of his first wife Friderike Maria Zweig. Then it was gifted to Dr Harry Zohn in 1953. Dr Zohn donated the painting to the Zweig Room in the Reed Library at the State University College at Fredonia, New York in 1981 where it has remained until this sale.
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A bear with its cubs by Niko Pirosmani

Pirosmani was famously ‘discovered’ in Georgia in 1912 by the Futurists Ilya and Kirill Zdanevich, who arranged for several of his works to be sent to Moscow in 1913 to be exhibited at the Mishen’ exhibition. Great Piro’s approach to painting was exciting because it extended the boundaries of what counted as ‘acceptable’ art – and inevitably invited the ridicule of conservative critics who mocked his inability to paint ‘correctly’.
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A fisherman by Niko Pirosmani

Niko Pirosmani or the Great Piro had no formal artistic education and up until this point had earned a meagre living decorating interiors and painting shop signs in Tbilisi, often accepting food and drink in lieu of payment. He tended to paint directly onto the material most readily available to him such as tablecloths belonging to the establishments he was working for.
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A mother carries some vessels with her children by Niko Pirosmani

Read more: Sophia Loren, Ornella Muti and their friendship with the Georgians

Just as his work began to garner wider attention Pirosmani retreated into obscurity, which only fueled the air of mystery that would come to be associated with his name after his death in Tbilisi in 1918. His raw untutored aesthetic inspired a generation of Georgian and Russian artists who were looking to break free from the academic stagnation of the traditional schools of art.
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Niko Pirosmani's statue in Tbilisi, Georgia

Today Niko Pirosmani is among the world’s most prominent artists. Exhibitions of his work have been held in Kiev (1931), Warsaw (1968), Paris (The Louvre) (1969), Vienna (1969), Nice and Marseilles (1983), Tokyo (1986), Zurich (1995), Nantes (1999), Turin (2002), Kiev, Istanbul (2008), Minsk, Vézelay and Vilnius (2008–2009). The paintings have been seen by more than 350,000 viewers.

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