Home Again: Rare Pirosmani on Display in National Gallery

Rare painting “Arsenal Hill at Night” by famous Georgian artist Niko Pirosmanashvili (Pirosmani) was donated as a gift to the Georgian National Museum after being purchased by Georgian multi-billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili at a Christy’s Auction on June 1, 2015.

After Ivanishvili purchased the painting, he announced: "The painting will be returned to Georgia”.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, the painting ”Arsenal Hill at Night” will be displayed for public viewing with other Pirosmani paintings at the Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery, throughout the week from July 21. Entrance to the gallery is free.

"Arsenal Hill at Night” has only ever been displayed once before, in Tbilisi in 1919.

Although Pirosmani produced an astonishing number of works- the total figure is over a thousand- only a few have survived to this day. He mostly painted his works for taverns and small shops, often in exchange for a food or drink instead of money.

For many years “Arsenal Hill at Night” was part of the collection of the noted French poet Louis Aragon (1897-1982). It was given to Aragon in 1957 on the occasion of the poet's sixtieth birthday by either the Union of Soviet Writers or the Soviet government.

Nino Ioseliani

21 July 2015 23:40