Alexander Shervashidze is a stage designer, artist, book illustrator and designer, art critic and public figure.
On his father’s side, the grandson of the last prince of Abkhazia, Georgy Shervashidze, and on his mother’s side, he is French.
In St. Petersburg – a participant in the theatrical experiments of Meyerhold, an associate of Diaghilev in the production of “Russian Ballet”. Modern theater criticism believes that the quality of these plays is largely determined by Shervashidze’s scenography. Essays about French art are considered relevant today. In 1972, he was rated as follows: “Participant in the Western theatrical and artistic revolution.” Salvador Dali calls him “a true representative of the European aristocracy.” Friends call him a prince. In the late 1910s, during his short stay in the family estate in Abkhazia, he took care of the education of young people and children, created a theater in Sukhumi. His creations – about 500 works, which he signed in the Georgian-Abkhazian language – Shervashidze-Chachba, he also bequeathed to his homeland – Sukhumi, Abkhazia, Georgia.
He has been in St. Petersburg since 1906, and from that time Alexander Shervashidze’s activity as a theater artist and stage designer began. In St. Petersburg, Shervashidze heads one of the imperial workshops. In 1918, Alexander Shervashidze returned to his homeland – to Sukhumi.
This is where his activity as a public figure begins: he actively participates in the work of the Sukhumi Art Society, opens theater courses, where he teaches together with Kamensky and Evreinov, who were in Sukhumi at that time; Performs with several performances with students; opens a children’s studio in the building of the Sukhumi Women’s Gymnasium; leads a circle of painting, gives lectures on art in the cities of Georgia and the South Caucasus; He is engaged in educational work.
Due to the political situation, A. Shervashidze is forced to leave first for Batumi, and then for the Crimea – Feodosia, where are his children and ex-wife. Here he received an invitation from Diaghilev, who at that time directed the second production of the Ballets Russes at London’s Covent Garden Theatre. In 1920, Shervashidze and his wife again left for Europe, and this time for good.
In London, Paris or New York, he is mainly busy working with Diaghilev, but he also does easel works – portraits, landscapes, still lives.
In Paris, he meets Picasso, Derain, Braque, Rouault, whose participation in the productions of the Russian Ballet was the result of this friendship. In 1924, A. Shervashidze draws a theatrical curtain for the Blue Express by Darius Mayo based on Picasso’s painting “Women Running along the Seashore” (the 134 sq. m curtain is currently kept in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London).
During these years, he creates sketches of scenery and costumes for choreographic performances that are staged in many cities in Europe and America. In addition to numerous sketches of scenery and costumes, easel works, A. Shervashidze also designs books.
Shervashidze died in 1968 in a nursing home in Monaco. He was buried in Nice, at the Russian cemetery. In 1985, his remains were transported to Georgia – Sukhumi.