NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The Tartu Art Museum, in cooperation with the Tuglas Society, is very pleased to present to the audience the collection of works by Eduard Wiiralt (1898–1954) by the Finnish composer and private collector Juhani Komulainen. The collector and the collectible are connected by connections with France and Paris, where both have lived long. Komulainen's commitment and concern for Wiiralt's legacy deserves recognition.

Eduard Wiiralt’s activities as an artist are important for Tartu and the Tartu Art Museum. The graphic artist, who gained international recognition during his lifetime, completed the first flight of the Pallas Art School in Tartu in 1924 and was one of the brightest examples in the international success story of the then educational institution and Estonian art in general. As a fresh graduate, Wiiralt briefly taught at Pallas, but as early as 1926 he moved to Paris to work and work. Based on Komulainen’s collection, the exhibition “Randevuu Nellyga” introduces one stage of Wiiralt’s life in France, and besides masterful graphics, many unique works such as drawings and monotypes can be presented, which cannot be reproduced and thus have not been shown in this museum before.

The main part of the Komulainen collection consists of a complete set purchased at the Paris auction in 2002, which includes Wiiralt’s works from 1931-1933 in Strasbourg. Among the 58 original works there are many unique nude and figure drawings, portraits, sketches and the drawing series “Saints”. This collection probably belonged to the artist, collector, musician and poet Nelly Stulz, at whose invitation Wiiralt was in Strasbourg. Later, Komulainen has purposefully supplemented his collection with mainly Wiiralt’s work from the period 1926-1939, when the artist lived in France.

Recently, Tartmus has increasingly contributed to the mapping and exhibition of works belonging to private collections. In 2019, the project “Pallasians in Estonian Homes” consisting of two exhibitions took place, within the framework of which the curators visited almost 50 homes, gaining crucial archival material and knowledge of hitherto unknown works. A year earlier, we exhibited a selection of Enn Kunila’s rich collection through two floors. It is important that this part of valuable Estonian art, which belongs to private collections and which museums cannot display on a daily basis, also reach the audience. The Komulainen collection has been presented in Estonia before, for example in 2006 at the Adamson-Eric Museum, in 2010 in Pärnu and in 2018 in Kuressaare, but it will reach Tartu, which is so important for Wiiralt, for the first time this year .

Juhani Komulainen’s collection has previously been thoroughly researched and analyzed by art historian Mai Levin. This exhibition is also largely based on the knowledge he has gathered about this collection as well as Wiiralt in general.

Curators of the exhibition: Joanna Hoffmann, Mare Joonsalu Coordinator: Kristlyn Liier Graphic design: Katrin Nõu Working group: Richard Adang, Nele Ambos, Indrek Grigor, Margus Joonsalu, Katrin Lõoke, Julia Polujanenkova, Anti Saar, Peeter Talvistu, Kristo Tamm, Ago Teedema, Urmo Teekivi, Jaana Vasama

Thank you: Tuglas Society, Estonian Cultural Endowment, Juhani Komulainen, Mai Levin

Gallery name: Tartu Art Museum

Address: Raekoja plats 18 , Tartu

Opening hours: Wed, Fri-Sun 11:00 - 18:00, Thu 11:00 - 20:00

Open: 22.05.2021 - 03.10.2021