Niko Pirosmanashvili (also known as Nikala or Niko Pirosmani) whose paintings are exhibited today next to the works of Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Edvard Munch, died in poverty. Pirosmani's paintings were discovered by a Georgian-Polish avant-garde artist, Ilya Zdanevich, and shown to Pablo Picasso. Picasso was so impressed by what he saw that he created a portrait of Pirosmani.
Nikala did not receive special education, however in 1880, together with the self-taught Zaziashvili, he opened a painting workshop, where they painted signboards. He also painted the walls of taverns to order, worked as a tram conductor, and tried his hand at trading, but spent the last years of his life in a small room under the stairs in the old part of Tbilisi.
The dates of Pirosmani's birth and death are unknown, as is the location of his grave. He never had a family or children. In addition to brilliant paintings, a house in Mirzaani, that he built in 1898, has been preserved. His house museum was opened there in 1960. In addition to personal belongings, the museum houses more than 9,000 exhibits, including 14 paintings by Pirosmani and a lithograph of him through the eyes of Pablo Picasso.