Lilly Walther. Limitless


On 23 February 2022, the exhibition Lilly Walther. Limitless, showing the works of Baltic German painter Lilly Walther (1866–1946), will open on the top floor of the Tartu Art Museum. It will introduce an artist who achieved a lot during her life and lengthy career but who has been mostly overlooked by Estonian art history.

As best as can be determined, Lilly Walther was the first woman from Estonia to study as an external student in the Stieglitz Art School in St Petersburg (1888–1894). Afterwards she travelled to different destinations, including the Sèvres porcelain factory in France (1969–1897), the Grand-Ducal Saxon Art School in Weimar, the Worpswede artists’ village, to Berlin to study ceramics, the historic clay factory in Bürgel near Jena, to Paris to work as a freelancer (1908–1912) and later to Tallinn as a drawing teacher. She is also present in the history of Estonian design as one of the founders of the Studio for Applied Arts (1904–1914), although during her lifetime and posthumously she was mostly known as a water-colourist and a flower painter. In her later life, she replaced being an active artist with a career in conservation and was one of the first professional art restorers in Estonia.

The works at the exhibition mostly come from the recently sorted and organised collection of assisting materials and archives. They are materials from art history that were accessible only to those in the know. We are very glad that we can finally introduce the heritage of Walther to a wider audience!

The exhibition is accompanied by the first publication on Lilly Walther’s oeuvre. Although information about her has been superficial, mostly consisting of a couple of sentences in general books on art history, this injustice has finally been corrected. The catalogue reveals Walther’s life and works thoroughly, containing articles by various art historians, the history of her career as a restorer, a chronological biography, the reproduction of the most intriguing entries in her archives, numerous photos and a careful selection of reproductions.


Curator: Nele Ambos
Exhibition design: Kristiina Taluri
Graphic design: Norman Orro
Co-ordinator: Kristlyn Liier
Educational programme: Kristel Sibul

Owners of exhibited works: Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Estonian Students’ Society, Kadriorg Art Museum, Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn City Museum

Exhibition team: Richard Adang, Indrek Aavik, Tanel Asmer, Maarika Espenberg, Indrek Grigor, Joanna Hoffmann, Mare Joonsalu, Margus Joonsalu, Kristiina Kullus, Katrin Lõoke, Kaisa Milsaar, Kadri Mägi, Annegret Kriisa, Jaanika Kuznetsova, Julia Polujanenkova, Anti Saar, Peeter Talvistu, Kristo Tamm, Ago Teedema

Thanks: Helen Adamson, Anne Arus, Hilkka Hiiop, Hanno Jahisoo, Ulrika Jõemägi, Liisa Kaljula, Merike Kallas, Hedi Kard, Katrin Kivimaa, Kaie Kukk, Kersti Kuldna-Türkson, Merike Kurisoo, Mai Levin, Anu Lõhkivi, Marit Must, Kerttu Männiste, Liivi Mölder, Grete Nilp, Alar Nurkse, Eve Otstavel, Risto Paju, Kerttu Palginõmm, Silli Peedosk, Kadi Polli, Bart Pushaw, Maris Rosenthal, Tarmo Saaret, Taavi Sepp, Kai Stahl, Tõnis Tatar, Lea Teedema, Kristiina Tiideberg

Partners: Metec, Raamikoda, Stereo Meedia

Supporter: Cultural Endowment of Estonia


Exhibition views
Photos: Jopp Creative