Shalom Koboshvili was a self-taught artist whose artworks, painted in a naive, primitivist manner with oil paints or watercolors, in addition to an artistic value, represent important ethnographic documentation depicting the daily life and religious rites of Georgian Jews.
Koboshvili was born in Akhaltsikhe to a poor Orthodox Jewish family. Due to constant privations during his childhood and youth, he could not get a full education. He showed his talent for drawing as a teenager but his family didn’t support his passion for art. Instead, he was trained as a rabbi, but he abandoned religious education at an early age. That’s why he was sent as a typographer’s apprentice. All his artistic knowledge was based on self-education. It is believed that he met Niko Pirosmani in 1910.
In 1937, the sixty-one-year-old Koboshvili landed a job as a night watchman at the newly opened Museum of Jewish History of Georgia. It was at this time that he began to paint. He depicted the customs and religious rites of the Akhaltsikhe Jews of the 19th century, the interiors of their dwelling houses and synagogues, clothing, and portraits of different social strata. Most of his oeuvre was created in 1937-1941.
In 1950, Koboshvili’s works were transferred to the Georgian National Museum. The first retrospective show of Koboshvili’s works was organized in Tbilisi in 2006.