Vienna museum to host anniversary exhibition for celebrated painter Pirosmani

The Vienna museum display will be the first comprehensive exhibition of Pirosmani's works in Austria. Photo: Georgian National Museum., 08 Oct 2018 - 17:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

The life and legacy of Georgia’s famed self-taught painter Niko Pirosmani will go the under spotlight at Vienna’s Albertina Museum, in the first comprehensive display of the artist’s works in Austria starting later this month.

Set to mark 100 years since the death of the primitivist painter, the exhibition will showcase his art along with works created as a tribute to the creative by renowned figures, including avant-garde writer Ilia Zdanevich and architect Tadao Ando.

The aim of this exhibition at the Albertina is a commemoration of Pirosmani‘s death and at the same time a celebration of his art and his resurrection in the conscience of many.

It will be a great discovery for hundreds of thousands who never heard of this great Son of Art”, a preview from the Austrian museum noted.

See a promotional video for the display, featuring characters from Pirosmani's paintings:


Nearly 30 works by Pirosmani will be flanked at the show by Pirosmanashvili 1914, an artist book by Zdanevich that features a gravure Portrait of Pirosmani by Pablo Picasso.

Ando, an award-winning architect whose acclaims include the 1995 Pritzker Prize, will pay his homage to the painter with Table of Pirosmani, a symbolic nod to the Georgian creative’s lifelong dream.

The creation reflects Pirosmani’s wish for a social space that would gather artists for talks around art in Tbilisi — a vision that failed to materialise before his death in obscurity.

‘Bear On a Moonlit Night’, a work by the Georgian primitivist artist. Photo: Infinitart Foundation.

He died a lonely death in 1918 in a basement, and to this day it remains unknown where his body was buried. This table was never built during his lifetime.

Now, 100 years after his death, this table is built in his memory”, the preview from the Vienna venue said.

Pirosmani’s life and work will also be commemorated through work by artists including painters and sculptors Georg Baselitz and Yoshitomo Nara and painter Adrian Ghenie.

Born in the village of Mirzaani in eastern Georgia’s Kakheti province in 1862, Pirosmanashvili took an early interest in painting, however he never received formal art training.

Moving to the capital Tbilisi, he made a living painting shop plaques, portraits and landscapes for bar owners.

Discovered by prominent Georgian artists Lado Gudiashvili, David Kakabadze and Kirill Zdanevich, the creative became known on the local scene as Pirosmani.

Pirosmani became known as one of the foremost self-taught painters in Georgia. Photo: Infinitart Foundation.

He never managed to escape poverty during his life in Georgia's capital, struggling to find work opportunities.

Information on his life and artistic legacy were mostly obtained by biographers and historians and he only began to be recognised as one of the foremost self-taught artists in Georgia after his death in 1918.

The Pirosmani display will be brought to the Albertina Museum through a collaboration between the Infinitart Foundation, the Georgian National Museum and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia.

It will be open at the venue between October 26, 2018-January 27th, 2019.