The foundation for the collection of drawings of the Tartu Art Museum was laid in 1941 and until today it contains more than 4000 paintings, which can mainly be divided into two categories; firstly, drawings as independent artworks, and secondly drawings as sketches, especially nude croquis. Techniques of these drawings represent a wide variety of mediums. For example charcoal, pencil, sanguine, sepia, ink, felt-tip pen, crayon as well as a large amount of collage works.

Artists from the pre-war period of The Second World War and from the mid-twentieth century make up the core of the drawing collection. Old masters like Kristjan Raud with his work about Kalevipoeg, Nikolai Triik’s portraits and a large collection of Ado Vabbe’s work, including the first examples of Estonian abstract art. The legacy of Karin Luts is also of great value for the drawing collection. Ülo Sooster’s work creates the best overview of the post-war period.

The museum has constantly acquired works from artists active in the second half on the twentieth century, but also from artists who belong to younger generations.

The collection of drawings of the Tartu Art Museum consists mainly of works by Estonian artists, although Baltic German artists such as Johann Wilhelm Krause, August Matthias Hagen and Julie Hagen-Schwarz, Carl Timoleon von Neff and others are also featured.

Sadly the museum has limited space for exhibitions and we currently do not have a permanent exhibition, so not all of the collection highlights are on show at all times. However, we try to curate a varied programme of changing exhibitions so that there is always something classical on show, as well as picks from contemporary Estonian art.

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