People’s Artist of the Soviet Union, Laureate of
the Soviet Union State Award, Russian Festival of Performing Arts “Golden Mask”
Award winner (nomination “Honour and Dignity”).
Sumbatashvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, 10 (23) October, 1915. He studied
in Civil Engineering College and graduated from the painting department of the
Tbilisi Academy of Arts.
In 1942 Iosif
Sumbatashvili became Art Director of the Paliashvili Opera House and was
invited to the Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre for the decoration work
of the Levan Gotua’s David the Builder(directed by Tabliashvili). His work received high marks from Simon Virsaladze
(Art Director of The Rustaveli National Theatre).
years were celebrated with such plays as Zakaria Paliashvili’s Twilight (Tbilisi Opera House),
Euripides’s Medea and Alexander Ostrovsky’s Without a Dowry Kote
Marjanishvili State Drama) and films as Keto
and Kote, Magdanas Lurja as well as with numerous cartoons.
In 1958 Iosif Sumbatashvili began his work in Moscow as a decorator for the
Aleksei Arbuzov’s Irkutsk Story (The Vakhtangov
Theatre). In 1962 he was appointed an Art Director at the Central Academic
Theatre of the Russian Army where together with the Director of this theatre Leonid
Heifetz he created outstanding images for such plays as Uncle Vanya, Pavel the First of Russia, Masquerade, Yakov Bogomolov and Ivan the Terrible’s Death which was marked with a gold medal of
the International Stagecraft Exhibition Prague
Quadriennale. This work is believed to have a great influence over the
tradition of the Russian historical plays decoration.
The name of Iosif Sumbatashvili is strongly connected with such theatres as
The Moscow Art Theatre, Moscow Maly Theatre, Mariinsky Theatre, Novosibirsk
Opera House. He also had a vast experience of working abroad – in Poland,
Bulgaria, Germany (mainly Saarbr?cken and Leipzig) and many others.Among
Russian theatres The Vakhtangov and The Central Academic Theatre of the Russian
Army played the most important role in Sumbatashvili’s life. In the latter he
worked as an Art Director till his very last day.
Sumbatashvili died 11 February, 2012.