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Yelena Akhvlediani

 

 

Akhvlediani Yelena

(b Telavi, 18 April 1898; d Tbilisi, 28 Dec 1975).

Georgian painter. From 1922 she studied at the Tiflis (now Tbilisi) Academy of Arts, where her talent was noted by the patriarch of Georgian realist painting, Georgy Gabashvili. She visited Italy and France, attending Colarossi’s academy in Paris. She painted both Tiflis and Paris in similar style using brown, red and grey half-tones, somewhat reminiscent of the work of Albert Marquet, as in Paris: Working Class Area (1926; Tbilisi, Yelena Akhvlediani Mem. Mus.). After several successful exhibitions in Paris, where she mixed with the small Georgian community and was close to Lado Gudiashvili, in 1927 she returned to Georgia, holding several exhibitions there to mark her progress. For some time she was unable to find an application for her art, and from 1930 she worked as chief artist for the Detskaya Literatura (children’s literature) publishing house, producing pen and ink and watercolour illustrations to the works of Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Il’ya Chavchavadze and other writers. In 1928 she started working at the theatre of the director Kito Marjinashvili, and she also designed numerous theatre productions and films in Russia and the Ukraine as well as Georgia. In each work she sought to vary the means of building up the scenic space, using both traditional and avant-garde forms, in particular those of Constructivism. She gained the highest praise from the critics for her designs for Z. Antonov’s play Zatmeniye solntsa v Gruzii (‘Solar eclipse in Georgia’; 1932–3; production by Marjinashvili). For it she created mock-up buildings that fused with the painted backdrop as they got further away from the viewer. From the end of the 1950s she again took Tbilisi as her theme, creating a series in watercolour, pencil and ink called Old and New Tbilisi (1961–7).

 

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