Artist and painter Meir Pichhadze died Thursday morning in his home in Tel Aviv after losing a battle with cancer. He was 54-years-old and left behind two children.
Moshe Abir, owner of the Dan gallery in Tel Aviv, who represented Pichhadze in the past few years, told Ynet about the last time he saw the artist. "I visited him just two days ago and he wasn't in good condition."
He further added, "Pichhadze was a dear and remarkable man; we worked together over the course of the last three years. He was a pleasant man and I am just shocked at what happened."
One of Pichhadze's works (Photographed by Yael Shachar Sarid)
Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat expressed sorrow over Pichhadze's death and said, "The Israeli culture world is bowing its head. Pichhadze had a unique style in the Israeli art world. His great talent will be missed by us all."
According to Abir, the artist was diagnosed with cancer only several months ago. "The whole process from the time of diagnosis during a holiday in the US six months ago was very quick. Towards the end he suffered greatly. It is truly hard to take it all in," he said.
A painting by Pichhadze (Photographed by Yael Shachar Sarid)
From Georgia to Tel Aviv
Pichhadze was born in 1955 in Georgia. His art skills were first developed when he started taking lessons together with his sister with sculptor Razu Ramishvili. Together with his family he made aliyah in 1973. In the late 1970s he began forming his unique style of painting, which was influenced by Georgian painter Nico Pirosmani and the great Russian painters.
In 1983 he began studying at the Kalisher art college in Tel Aviv. He is known to have said that he expresses himself better in art than in words due to a stammer he suffered from as a child. He once noted, "With me, style is sometimes lack of style."
During the late 1980s his work was primarily influenced by post-modern artists such as David Sela. His works were shown in leading Israeli galleries, and in 2008 the Dan gallery in Tel Aviv hosted a retrospective exhibition of his works.
Pichhadze was a unusual figure in the Israeli art world, which was manifested in his habit of painting on black canvas instead of the traditional white. "I prefer to start painting by covering the canvas in black, like an existential bedding and then illuminate it," he once said.
In the past few decades he emerged as one the most prominent and leading Israeli painters in the country.