Helene Akhvlediani – modernist artist: painter, book illustrator and stage designer – one of the founders of the urban landscape in Georgian painting.
She was born in Telavi, Georgia, in 1901 and studied drawing at the art studio of Nikolai Sklifosovsky in Tbilisi. She traveled to Moscow. There, Vrubel’s painting made a special impression on her.
In 1919 she participated in the exhibitions of the Georgian artists.
In 1921, Helene Akhvlediani entered the Tbilisi Academy of Arts, where she enrolled in the class of the artist and teacher Gigo Gabashvili; In 1922, she left for Italy to continue her studies: for six months she visited Rome, Milan, Florence and Venice.
In 1924 she went to Paris and studied at The Académie Colarossi.
While in Paris, the main theme of her art was formed – the urban landscape. She created a large series of Paris views as well as nudes with a strong erotic charge (naturally, in Soviet Georgia, she did not return to erotic art). She was quite successful in Paris. Collectors and artists, including Paul Signac himself, acquired her landscapes. She regularly participated in the exhibitions of the “Paris Salon of Independents” and “Autumn Salon” and organized solo exhibitions in the gallery “Quatre Chemin”.
In 1926-1927, she was invited to an exhibition in Holland, but she had only sent her works, and herself returned to Georgia. Here Akhvlediani was invited by Kote Marjanishvili as a set designer. Since then, scenography had become her most important field of activity. In a period of 1928-1941, she did set designs for about forty performances in various theaters. Along with theatrical sceneries, Akhvlediani also worked a lot as a book illustrator, but, nevertheless, urban landscape remained her main field. She worked extensively in Tbilisi, Telavi and Kutaisi, but Tbilisi occupied a special place in her art so the collectors and amateurs associate her art with Tbilisi.
From the 1920s to the 1970s, the motif of the urban landscape in Akhvlediani’s art underwent certain transformations – Soviet art made its own demands on all branches and genres. Thus particularly prominent among her works remain the views of Paris and Tbilisi created in the 1920s.
Had Akhvlediani stayed in Europe, she would probably have become a representative of the Parisian school. Being far from the radicalism of avant-garde, she never was a left-wing artist. Like the “Damned Painters” (“Peintres Maudits”), she cherished her everyday urban environment: the district, places and roads valuable and beloved to her.