Alexandra Tevsadze – A Theatre Painter

Main Article Content

Irma Dolidze


Curriculum vitae in first person (archive document): “I, Alexandra Tevsadze (patronymic – Alexander), was born in 1896 in the city of Tbilisi. I finished my school education in 1915 with a gold medal. At the same time, I learned painting in the school of B. Vogel and N. Sklifosovsky. From 1920 I taught painting in secondary school (a certificate is attached). Soon I started studying at the Academy of Arts in the class of Yevgeny Yevgenyevich Lanceray and Adolf Iosifovich Charlemagne. In 1930 after graduation from the Academy I worked in the Museum of Arts. Then in the Rustaveli Theater, on the design of costumes and the whole performances at the College of Theater. The following shows and performances were designed by me: Fr. Schiller’s “The Robbers” (costumes by Sergo Kobuladze and A. Tevsadze, stage design by the painter I. Gamrekeli), L. Slavin’s “Intervention” (stage design - I. Gamrekeli, costumes -A. Tevsadze), V. Shkvarkin’s “The Bastard” (stage design – S. Kobuladze, costumes – A. Tevsadze), A. Kornejtshuk’s “Platon Krechet” (stage design – S. Kobuladze, costumes – A. Tevsadze), K. Mdivanis “Alkazar” (set design Tavadze, costumes – A. Tevsadze), S. Shanshiashvili’s “Arsena” (set design – I. Gamrekeli, costumes – A. Tevsadze), Sh. Dadiani’s “The Yesterdays” (stage design – I. Gamrekeli, costumes – A. Tevsadze), Sh. Dadiani’s “From the flame“ (stage design – I. Gamrekeli, costumes – A. Tevsadze). In the Opera Theater I designed costumes for the Decade of Georgian Art in Moscow in 1936.

In the Rustaveli Theater I created the stage design for the following performances: A. N. Ostrovsky’s “Guilty Without Fault” and Eugène Scribe’s “A Glass of Water”. In Batumi theater – “The Betrayal” by A. Sumbatasvili-Yushin, in Stalinir – Sh. Dadiani’s “Gegechkori” and “My Son” by I. Gergelia and Litovchev. At the Higher School of Theater – „Matchmaker” by I. Chavchavadze, “The Rift” by B. Lavrenyov, “The Scrooge” by G. Eristavi, “Talents and Admirers” by A. N. Ostrovsky, “A Month in the Country” by I. Turgenev, etc. Besides, I gave lectures in the subject “Art of Costume Design” (a certificate is enclosed).

In Marjanishvili Theater I worked on the following performances: “Masquerade” by M. Lermontov and “Zizamuri” by G. Nakhuzrishvili. I have also created costumes for the actors’ ensemble.

As a book illustrator I participated in the graphic representation of the following books: “Republic of Rascals”/ “The Republic of ShKID” by G. Belych and L. Pantelejev, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by H. E. Beecher Stowe, “Who to Be?” by V. Mayakovsky.
In 1945 I was awarded a medal “For bravery, proven in the Great Patriotic War” by the Painters’ Association for my social activities. July 7, 1967 A. Tevsadze”

Al. Tevsadze’s autobiography preserved in the Palace of Arts of Georgia. Tevsadze is the only document filled in by her own hand. The information about the person of A. Tevsadze is so meagre that the reconstruction of her life and work is made difficult. Even in art historical studies, nothing is reported about this artist. For this reason, great importance is attached to any material or information about this artist.

While working on the sketches kept in the Musum of Sh. Rustaveli State University of Theatre and Film of Georgia, my attention was drawn to the works of this artist. This is where my interest in researching the work of this artist came from. Her autobiography served as a guide for me to discover and study the materials kept in the museum as well as in the Palace of Arts of Georgia. It turned out that A. Tevsadze’s estate deals with theatre. Her works – about 50 sketches – are designs of costumes for the theatre performances – “Arsena”, “The Yesterdays”, “Master” and “Platon Kretchet” (45 sketches). They were granted the status of movable monument of cultural heritage in 2012.

The conducted research of the documents allows us to present the life and work of A. Tevsadze in the following way: The painter was born in Tbilisi in 1896. During her school education she attended the art school of B. Vogel and N. Sklifosovsky. At the beginning of the 20th century there were two art schools in Tbilisi: the School of Sculpture and Fine Arts in Tbilisi and a public school led by N. Sklifosovsky. Here studied many later famous painters – E. Akhvlediani, S. Kobuladze and others. A. Tevsadze also studied at this school. She continued her studies at the Art Academy, founded in 1922, and received professional training. A. Tevsadze belongs to the first generation of graduates of the Academy of Arts. According to her autobiography, she started working at the Art Museum in 1930 after graduating from the Academy of Arts. Then at the Rustaveli Theatre, at the College of Theatre
Arts, where she worked on the design of costumes and the set of entire performances. Since that time, the artist has been exclusively involved with theatre. At the College of Theatre Arts, she creates stage designs in the years 1940-1952. Her work is particularly active in the first years of the newly founded Theatre College (also known as the Institute) – in the years 1932-1941. Later, she works on theatre productions in the Marjanishvili Theatre, in the theatres of Batumi and Zkhinvali.

The artist’s interest was also in graphic design. She worked on the costumes for the ensembles. She also designed the costumes for the Decade of Arts in Moscow in 1936. Alexandra Tevsadze died in 1976, at the age of 80.

The 1930s is an extremely interesting period, the very time when A. Tevsadze’s artistic career began. In Georgian painting, the modernist tendencies of the 1920s are still current; in the 1930s, the realistic and, to a certain extent, illustrative tendency emerges. It is the time when “socialist realism” begins to assert itself in art. It is also an interesting period of search in Georgian theatre. The work of K. Marjanishvili and S. Akhmeteli determines the artistic processes not only in the two leading state theatres of Georgia, but also in the theatre landscape of the whole Georgia.

Alexandra Tevsadze has been working in the Rustaveli Theatre since 1932. She worked on designing the costumes for the performance of Fr. Schiller’s “The Robbers” (1933. Directed by S. Akhmeteli, Sh. Aghsabadze) together with the painter S. Kobuladze. A draught of a woman’s costume is preserved in the museum of the Rustaveli Theatre. Schiller’s “The Robbers” was probably to be the artist’s first work at the Rustaveli Theatre.

Al. Tevsadze’s Oueuvre consists of sketches made in the 1930s and 1940s. Regardless of the different artistic conceptions, A. Tevsadze’s sketches are always full of changeable sculpture, dynamics, moderate colour palette, they are characterised by profound knowledge of costume design. This diverse gallery of heroic types reflects not only the whole concept of a concrete theatrical performance, but also the artistic tendencies of the epoch. In A. Tevsadze’s sketches, the historical image of the time always retains important significance.

The work of A. Tevsadze – the theatre painter – belongs to the inseparable part of Georgian scenography and Georgian theatre history.

XX საუკუნის ქართული სცენოგრაგია, თეატრისა და კინოს უნივერსიტეტის მუზეუმი, თეატრალური ინსტიტუტი, რუსთაველის თეატრი, კოსტიუმების მხატვარი
Published: Mar 21, 2022

Article Details

How to Cite
Dolidze, I. (2022). Alexandra Tevsadze – A Theatre Painter. Art Researches, 4, 14–53. Retrieved from