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Georgian celebrities initiate on purchase of Pirosmani’s Arsenal Hill

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, June 1
Musician Niaz Diasamidze set up a civil campaign in order to ransom the painting of famous Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani from Christie’s auction.

Pirosmani’s painting, Arsenal Hill At Night is going to be sold on Christie’s auction on June 1 in London, United Kingdom.

The masterpiece was painted in 1907-1908, and until now it was the property of a private collector.

In 1897-1982 it was in the collection of French Poet Louis Aragon and in 2010 it was sold for 100 000 dollars at a MacDougall auction in London.

On the Charlie auction, the painting is located in the category of Russian art and its start price is 800, 000 -1 200, 000 pounds.

The initiator of the campaign and the artists are looking the ways to return the painting home.

Diasamidze says that it is already too late to gather the sum in public and asks the government and independent businessmen to help them ransom the masterpiece now with the promise that they will return the money to the buyer later.

In fact, it is the people who will be buying the painting and not one particular person; the artists say that Georgians now have chance to show their unity because the painting is an important part of Georgian Art.

Opera singer and the founder of charity foundation Iavnana, Paata Burchuladze, also commented on the issue.

According to him, due to the lack of available time, it would be a miracle to ransom the painting. He called upon the government and relevant authorities to take part in the campaign and allocate money to return the cultural heritage home.

The collector Araik Babadjanian says that placing the masterpiece of Georgian artist in Russian category serves the inner politics of the auction:

“Everyone knows that Pirosmani is a Georgian artist and it would be great to return the masterpiece to Georgia, although there is one advantage of its being abroad - it will increase foreign interest towards Georgia,” said the collector.