100-year-old works in the collections of Tartu Art Museum

On the eve of Estonia’s one-hundredth anniversary, 23 February, Tartu Art Museum will open an exhibition of works made in 1918 in its project room. Altogether, Tartmus’ collections hold about a hundred art works bearing made in that year. The present exhibition contains the most significant of these.

Exhibited artists include: August Jansen, Jaan Koort, Ants Laikmaa, Herbert Lukk, Anton Starkopf, Balder Tomasberg, Ado Vabbe and Eduard Wiiralt.

Curator: Mare Joonsalu

The exhibition “100-year-old works in the collections of Tartu Art Museum” will be opened in the Tartmus project room on 23 February at 15 with a curatorial tour in Estonian. The exhibition links the historic events of 1918 with the collections of Tartu Art Museum by telling a story with each of the exhibited works. The exhibition will remain open until 15 February.

The year that marked the birth of Estonia was also the year when Estonia’s art life began to enliven. “Artists who had been mostly active outside of Estonia began to arrive home to escape World War I and the communist revolution in Russia. New art institutions were born and exhibitions were organised more often,” explains curator Mare Joonsalu. “By bringing new ideas from the great centres of art, young artists started to shake up the local art life that they considered boring and frozen,” she adds. They based their approach more or less on poet Gustav Suits’ slogan from first album of the Young Estonia movement published in 1905 that stated: “More European culture! Let’s remain Estonian but become European!”

These troubled times inspired to great deeds but inevitably also led to losses: Illnesses claimed many of our young talents. Balder Tomasberg, Herbert Lukk and Eduard Wiiralt volunteered when the Estonian War of Independence began on 28 November. Lukk was killed in action in January 1919 and Tomasberg in March. The events of 1918 also left a physical mark in the actions and oeuvre of Estonian artists: smaller formats and easily available materials were used.

The exhibition has an open-air component on the exhibitions surfaces of Poe street in Tartu.

The exhibition is accompanied by an educational programme for schools and kindergartens. More information: Kristel Sibul, kristel@tartmus.ee.

Curator: Mare Joonsalu
Graphic design: Jaan Evart

Exhibition team: Nele Ambos, Merli-Triin Eiskop, Margus Joonsalu, Hanna-Liis Kont, Julia Polujanenkova, Kristel Sibul, Peeter Talvistu, Ago Teedema and Piia Õunpuu.