A New Beginning. Exhibition series Tartmus 75!

01.10. – 22.11.2015

The title of the exhibition refers to the new beginning the museum found in 1946 in its new building, a former dwelling house at Vallikraavi Street 14, after losing its previous space during the war.

This exhibition focuses on the exhibition programme of the Tartu Art Museum from 1946 to 1950, juxtaposing ideologically suitable works with those that were not. The exhibition also includes excerpts from archival documents and art criticism of the time.

The aim of the exhibition is to shed light on the history of the museum and the conditions of exhibition making in the difficult post war period, ruled by fear, when artists could suddenly be declared “enemies of the nation and the state”. The exhibition shows how the state’s increased interest in art influenced the themes that were displayed at the time and banished most of the artists from the 1920s and the 1930s from the museum’s programme.

In March 1945 the Council of People Commissars of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Estonia (bolsheviks) declared Socialist Realism as the only acceptable style in art and criticised the Estonian art of the past as Formalist and thematically poor and dominated by landscapes and still lifes. It was required that art promoted Soviet mentality. In order to educate Estonian artists in these matters, examples from Soviet and Russian artists were included in local exhibitions.

From 1946 onwards notions like “bourgeois anachronisms”, “aestheticism”, “apolitical stance” and “lack of ideas” came under increasing scrutiny. The overall atmosphere became one of fear and hysteria, anyone could be charged with “bourgeois nationalism”, “Formalism” and “cosmopolitism”.

Artists: Adamson-Eric, Ivan Aivazovsky, Richard Kaljo, Pavel Kirpichov, Ernst Kollom, Arkadio Laigo, Isak Levitan, Kaarel Liimand, Mikhail Matorin, Villem Ormisson, Richard Sagrits, Martin Saks, Vladimir Sergeyev, Vassily Simonov, Dementi Shmarinov, Salome Trei, Ado Vabbe.

Curator: Sten Ojavee

Tartmus would like to thank Rael Artel, Karl Feigenbaum, Margus Joonsalu, Mare Joonsalu, Hanna-Liis Kont, Heiti Kulmar, Keiu Krikmann, Kadri Mägi, Tiiu Talvistu, Peeter Talvistu, Raul Veede.

You are welcome to celebrate the birthday of Tartmus with us!