Thamar de Létay-Vachnadze Exhibition . Georgian National Gallery
19 November 18:00 - 16 December 18:00
Thamar de Létay-Vachnadze (1925-2001), a French scenographer and designer of Georgian origin, was part of Paris’ creative elite in the 20th century. Her biography became associated with France in the 1930s. Prior to becoming a renowned artist, she studied under Madeleine Vathier and Bernard Hugues in Paris.
In the year 1947, she entered matrimony with Redjeb Jordania, the son of Noe Jordania. However, this marital union proved to be brief and fraught with discontent. In 1952, the artist, accompanied by her mother and son, relocated to Brazil, leaving behind the bohemian ambiance of Paris.
Thamar de Létay’s successful creative journey began with her exhibition in São Paulo in 1957, where she displayed her costumes and set designs. In the same year, her twenty-two costume sketches were displayed at the 4th Biennale of the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo. During this period, she also collaborated with the fashion house of Christian Dior in Brazil. In 1963, a retrospective of Thamar de Létay’s artistic oeuvre was presented at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art. She was offered to lead the ballet department of the House of Culture of São Paulo but decided to return to Paris, which marked the start of her Parisian chapter of artistic journey.
Thamar de Létay created costumes and set designs for numerous theaters in France and contributed to productions at the Locarno Festival. Her artistic talents extended to book illustrations, covering a diverse range of literary genres, from children’s fairy tales to classical works and contemporary erotic poetry. She also ventured into the world of animated films. In the 1970s and 1980s, Paris and Luxembourg hosted several solo exhibitions displaying her work, including prominent venues such as the French Cultural Centre of Luxembourg, Salon Sofitel Group 36 in Paris, and Galerie Montparnasse in Paris.
Her enduring legacy encompasses a vast array of artistic output, including over three hundred sketches, thirty canvases, more than one hundred photographs, manuscripts, and an extensive collection of archival materials. In her artistic practice, the artist adeptly constructed authentic and original scenes upon individual canvases, often employing a combination of oil, gouache, pastel, and occasionally tempera as her chosen media. Her romantic aesthetic conveys a sense of delicacy, tenderness, and poetic allure.
Thamar de Létay had always wished to visit Georgia, but unfortunately, she never managed to return to her homeland. She never obtained French citizenship and carried the status of a Georgian refugee with dignity until her passing. This was also recorded in her residence certificate.