NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Petras Kalpokas
Visions of nature. Études and Watercolors

Petras Kalpokas (1880-1945) – one of the most famous Lithuanian artists, educator, scenographer, and fresco painter of the first half of the 20th century. His first teachers were Latvian painters Vilhelms Purvītis and Johan Valter. However, the artist matured at the modern Anton Ažbe school and Munich surroundings, where impressionism and Jugendstil were nurtured.   More than half of the works exhibited were created prior to his return to Lithuania (1920), whilst living abroad: in Germany, Latvia, Switzerland, Italy.

Etudes for Petras Kalpokas were an important part of the creative process. These were not sketches but independent works of art – an artistic form for expressing thought. The painter himself valued the etudes greatly and exhibited them next to his paintings in his exhibitions. Just in the 1928 Kalpokas’s exhibition alone etudes took up more than a third of the whole exhibition. He would sign only the best, the finest in his opinion. Sometimes the etudes are far more impressive artistically than his paintings, which have lost the primary emotiveness and the hypnotism of the image. He recognised the significance of the etudes, during his study years, when he began painting from the etudes that he brought from Lithuania.

In the etudes the lessons on impressionism and the symbolist spirit of Jugendstil are reflected (the cult of nature, the dynamics of its conditions, the vivacity of flora, the mysteriousness of the sky, the stream, the trees, the edge of the forest). His art was also influenced by the meeting of his future wife, a vegan, Elizabeth Schwartz and a visit to the Monte Verità (Mountain of Truth) colony, where the worship of nature ruled, having run away from the civilization there, where one can feel in the element of the eternal unity of the sky and earth. In this vegetarian and theosophical learning environment, where the ideas of free love, free dance, and new reformed society where promoted, Kalpokas’s admiration for the moments of the natural conditions, spirituality and the search for greater inner meaning, were strengthened.

Curator: Nijolė Tumėnienė

Architect: Mindaugas Reklaitis

Organisers: The Lithuanian National Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art
Partner: M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art
The project is financed by Lithuanian Council for Culture
Sponsors: “Exterus”, Fundermax

Gallery name: National Gallery of Art, Vilnius

Address: Konstitucijos ave. 22, Vilnius

Opening hours: Tue, Fri-Sun 11:00 - 19:00, Thu 12:00 - 20:00

Open: 01.08.2020 - 11.10.2020