Modernism and the Georgian Avant-garde in the Early 20th Century

Georgian Studies Seminar
Event Format
In person
CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St, Room S250, Cambridge MA 02138,

In the first two decades of the 20th century, European modernist movements found a strong echo in Georgia. Local poets and artists adopted the new trends in European art and literature. Symbolism and expressionism became a source of new artistic experiments.  The “discovery” of the primitive painter Niko Pirosmani in 1912, promoted by the Georgian-Polish brothers Kirill and Ilia Zdanevich, added to the development of Georgian Modernism. In 1916-17, artists and poets of different nationalities gathered in Tiflis (Tbilisi), bringing ideas of futurism and cubo-futurism. During the short period of Georgia's independence (1918-1921), several artists went to Paris with the help of the government. Among them was one of the first representatives of surrealist abstraction, David Kakabadze.  Until the mid-1930s and the consolidation of socialist realism, Futurist-Dadaist books and magazines were printed in Tbilisi, and avant-garde plays and films staged. Dr. Ketevan Kintsurashvili’s presentation will show that Georgia was one of the important centers of the avant-garde movement in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Time Period


The Program on Georgian Studies is an activity of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and is made possible by a sponsored research award from the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia.


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or in advance of your participation or visit. Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.