Pirosmanachvili à son Chevalet
Pirosmanachvili à son Chevalet (Bloch 2015)

1972

Drypoint on ancient Japon paper
From the edition of 78
Signed by the artist in pencil, lower right
Numbered 32/78
Printed by Lacourière-Frélaut, 1972
Published by Iliazd as the frontispiece of Iliazd's Pirosmanachvili 1914, 1972 
(Bloch 2015) (Baer 2020.b) (Cramer 154)

Brothers, Kyril and Ilia Zdanevitvh and their friend, Michel Ledentu, ardent futurists, were impressed by the talents of painter Niko Pirosmanachvili. They met in Tiflis, Georgia in 1912 and were shocked by the misery in which the artist lived despite his exceptional skills as a painter. In an attempt to draw attention to Pirosmanachvili’s artistic strengths, Ilia published a ‘sort-of manifesto’ about his art in a local paper in 1914. Nearly sixty years after their first meeting, Iliazd, still in pursuit to expose his long-unrecognized friend, decided to reprint the article in the summer of 1971. In the forward to the book that evolved, Pirosmanachvili 1914, Iliazd mentions, “The beginnings of his fame are attributed to us three Futurists on holiday—Michael Ledentu, my brother, Kyril, and myself, Ilia, called Iliazd”.i

 

Hoping that Picasso would be interested in engraving a frontispiece for the book, Iliazd prepared a small copper plate. In December 1971, Iliazd fell seriously ill and was hospitalized in Cannes under the care of Picasso’s doctor. Two months later, to his doctor’s great surprise and satisfaction, Iliazd made a full recovery. On February 21, 1972, he visited Picasso in Mougins and the artist, without hesitation, made for him an idealized portrait of the Georgian painter in drypoint. Preparations of the text for the book were done by Iliazd in the summer of 1972. The printing was attended to in the fall and completed later that year on December 13, 1972. Iliazd greatly appreciated Picasso’s contribution and made sure that the printed surface of the pages on which the text appeared did not exceed the format of Picasso’s engraving. At Christmas, Picasso signed all seventy-eight impressions of the drypoint. In April 1973, Iliazd was in Golf-Juan and had arranged to see Picasso on April 9. On Sunday morning, April 8, Picasso died suddenly. Iliazd, who was to survive him by two years, never got over the death of his old friend.

 

 

i Goeppert, Sebastian, Herma Corinna Goeppert, and Patrick Cramer,Pablo Picasso, The Illustrated Books: Catalogue Raisonné, Geneva: Patrick
Cramer, 1983.