Sotheby’s Auction sells Pirosmani painting to ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili

  • The painting 'Roe Deer Drinking from a Stream' by famous painter Niko Pirosmani. Photo from Sotheby's., 8 Jun 2016 - 16:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

Two works by Georgia's celebrated 20th Century artists were sold at the prestigious Sotheby's Auction in London this week, while pieces by contemporary Georgian creators also found new owners.

The highest successful bid for the Georgian paintings was for the piece Roe Deer Drinking from a Stream by late painter Niko Pirosmani (1862–1918), with the winning offer of 629,000 GBP (about $917,000 USD*).

The bid for Pirosmani's work came from the former Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili, who purchased the painting last sold at Sotheby's in 2011.

Last year, Ivanishvili acquired another of Pirosmani's paintings at Christie's Auction in London before donating it to Tbilisi's Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts.

A portrait of Niko Pirosmani by 20th Century Georgian artist Lado Gudiashvili. Photo from Sotheby's.

Arsenal Hill at Night, created by the artist circa 1907, was purchased by Ivanishvili in 2015 for almost $1.5 million USD and later exhibited for public at the Tbilisi venue.

The second-highest price paid for pieces by Georgian painters at the June 7 Sotheby's Auction was 75,000 GBP (about $109,000 USD*), bid by an unknown buyer for a portrait of Pirosmani.

The work was created by another late Georgian artist Lado Gudiashvili (1896-1980) and dated 1956.

Both works were auctioned by Sotheby's within its Russian Pictures section that featured 117 pieces by various painters and choreographers.

The painting 'Three Hundred Aragvians' by artist Merab Abramishvili. Photo from Sotheby's.

The Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia said it was in talks with organisers of the auction to transfer the artwork created by Georgian painters to a different section to represent their origin.

In another section of the London event, named Contemporary East, four creations by contemporary Georgian artists were also successfully auctioned.

Two paintings apiece by Merab Abramishvili and Otar Chkhartishvili were bought by undisclosed new owners for varying prices, with the highest bid registered for Abramishvili's 1993 work Three Hundred Aragvians.

The artwork was sold for the final price of 62,500 GBP (about $91,000 USD*).

Abramishvili's other work Leopard and two pieces by Chkhartishvili completed the list of Georgian pieces sold at the June 7 occasion in England's capital.

* Currency rates are according to today's National Bank of Georgia exchange rate.