Schmerling Obituary #1

Published on January 6, 1938. English translation kindly provided by Sophie Barrett.

O. I. Schmerling

Oscar Schmerling was born in 1863 in Tbilisi, in the family of a military officer. He was a contemporary and a friend of famous Georgian artists – G. Gabashvili and Romanoz Gvelesiani. Schmerling received a higher education at the Academy of Arts in Petersburg. After graduating with honors, he was sent to Munich to continue his studies. His professor in Munich was the famous military artist, Franz Roubaud (1891). After graduating from the Munich Academy, Schmerling started drawing illustrations for a local publication. He returned to Tbilisi in 1893 which marks the beginning of his career as an artist. After returning to Tbilisi he worked on illustrations for Mother Tongue [დედა ენა], cooperated with publications such as Nakaduli and Jejili. In 1901, he started working at News Sheet [ცნობის ფურცელი] as a caricaturist. Schmerling was the first artist who used a harsh whip of satire on Tbilisi local government officials and their minions — Khatisovs, Vermishevs and others.

During the period of establishing Soviet rule in Georgia (1920-1921), Schmerling worked in Ganja as a chairman of the Art Department within the National Education Department.

Schmerling’s caricatures were often published in humorous the literary journals Khatabala [Խաթաբալա] (in Armenian), Molla Nasreddin (in Turkish) [i.e. Azeri], and Devil’s Whip [ეშმაკის მათრახი]. Schmerling worked at the Soviet journals Tartarozi [ტარტაროზა] and Crocodile [ნიანგი] until recently.

Schmerling’s works were purchased and are kept at the Tbilisi Communal Museum and Metekhi Art Museum.

Schmerling raised a new generation of young talented caricaturists for Georgia’s publishing scene. Oscar Schmerling’s contribution to art is enormous. Georgian Soviet society will never forget his services.

The artist L. Kikodze


Source: The National Archives of Georgia

Central Archive of Modern History

f. 293, op. 1, d. 443