Egg tempera on panel, 1991, “Berioshka Series.”
|2 × 2 × 65 in
Nikoli Pirosmani was a Russian folk artist from the southern region of the former Soviet Union, an area known as Georgia. It’s near Turkey. He became a famous national treasure after living his life in poverty, selling or trading his sketches and simple paintings for pennies. This is my salute to him.
One day, in my gallery a few years back, a Russian visited. These days the area known as Georgia is an independent state and frequently at odds with the rest of Russia still intact. When he saw this painting he became angry. I feared he would slug me.
He said, “Pirosmani lived in the hot desert region of the bastards known as Georgia. There are no birch trees there.”
“This is a view from Moscow looking south,” I said.
“Very good,” he answered, satisfied.