Pallas 100. The Art School and Its Legend


This year Tartu Art Museum celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Pallas Art School with an exhibition held in all of our galleries. The exhibition takes place only a stone’s throw from Lossi street, where on 1 October 1919 an educational institution was opened that soon become the first school offering artistic higher education in Estonia. With the creation of Pallas, European modernist artistic innovations established themselves in Estonia and influenced the local art life over its 25 years of existence. The oeuvre of the teachers and students of Pallas became cornerstones of Estonian artistic heritage. In 1924–1943, 90 artists graduated from Pallas: 61 were painters, 17 graduated as sculptors and 12 as printmakers.

The Story of Pallas

The Pallas Art School and Tartu Art Museum are connected by their shared founder: the Pallas Art Society. This is why the 133 works of the preliminary collection of the museum mainly consisted of art by Pallasians. Later this number grew through purchases and donations. Most of the works in the exhibition come from the extensive collections of Pallas in Tartmus, with the selection covering both well-known favourites and works that offer new discoveries. The main focus of the exhibition is on the years 1919–1944, when the school was open. After the Second World War, when Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union for nearly fifty years, the art itself changed and opportunities for free creative output were reduced.

About the Exhibition

The subtitle of the exhibition, The Art School and Its Legend, indicates how the image of the art school has developed and what the word “Pallas” symbolises today for different people in Estonian art and culture. The exhibition, which covers three floors, is divided into sub-themes that introduce the history of the Pallas Art School, as well as contemporary viewpoints on the school. In addition to the main exhibition, a side project in the museum’s third-floor project space called Pallas in Estonian Homes will also be opened introducing a selection of works by Pallasians belonging to individuals and the interesting stories associated with them. The works are accompanied by interesting personal stories.

  • Curators: Joanna Hoffmann and Hanna-Liis Kont
  • Exhibition design: Kaisa Sööt
  • Graphic designer: Valter Jakovski
  • Co-ordinator: Kristlyn Liier
  • Consultants: Eha Komissarov, Tiiu Talvistu, Anna Škodenko

Works are from: Art Museum of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum, Under and Tuglas Literature Centre, Virumaa Museums, Tallinn City Museum, Narva Museum, Tartu City Museum, Museum of Viljandi and private collections.

Exhibition Team: Indrek Aavik, Richard Adang, Nele Ambos, Indrek Grigor, Johan Huimerind, Mare Joonsalu, Margus Joonsalu, Heiti Kulmar, Jaanika Kuznetsova, Kadri Mägi, Julia Polujanenkova, Riin Lisett Rei, Anti Saar, Kristel Sibul, Peeter Talvistu, Kristo Tamm, Ago Teedema

We would like to thank Tiina Abel, Liis Aleksejeva, Jaan Elken, Tiia Karelson, Kristi Kongi, Enn Kunila, Enn Lillemets, Mari Nõmmela, Kaido Ole, Ago Pajur, Triinu Suumann, Enriko Talvistu, Kaspar Tamsalu, Gregor Taul, Anne Untera, Heldur Viires and Katariina Õunpuu

The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Tartu Kaubamaja Keskus, Hotel Pallas, Hotel London, Theatre Vanemuine