Silent Collections. Private art collections in Lithuania and Estonia in the 2nd half of the 20th Century

On 6 April at the National Gallery of Art (Konstitucijos ave. 22, Vilnius) exhibition "Silent Collections" will open. The exhibition presents significant cases of private collecting in Lithuania and Estonia, formed on the fringes of Soviet culture in the 1960s-1990s, which have so far received little research attention. The status of persons who collected art at that time was not precisely defined. It fluctuated between the categories of a profiteer and an enthusiast, and in ordinary life the collectors used to take on the roles of friends, patrons, dealers and information promoters. The Lewben Art Foundation is among the lenders to the exhibition.

simonis ndg
Kazys Šimonis. Music Chords, 1934. Collection of the Lewben Art Foundation.

"Silent collections" grew on the margins of the state-controlled art market on the initiative of writers, actors, medical doctors, architects and engineers. Private collections absorbed dozens of hundreds of paintings, graphic works and sculptures which due to the regime's ideological requirements or other reasons were not included in the system of state acquisition of artworks. Each collection reflects not only the aesthetic views and the network of familiar artists of its owner, but also the general pulse of the culture field in the Soviet period, different acquisition tactics and the owners' relation with their collections.

The Lithuanian part is represented by the collections of the professor of Vilnius University Vladas Žukas (1925-2014), actors Laimonas Noreika (1926-2007) and Bronius Gražys (1934-2013), architect Zigmantas Liandzbergis (1929-1993), medical doctor Stasė Mičelytė (1925-2011), radio engineer Visvaldas Neniškis (b. 1943), doctor, businessman Jonas Žiburkus (b. 1947), scriptwriter and journalist Pranas Morkus (b. 1938) and financial controller Egidijus Jakubauskas (b. 1949).The Estonian part of the exhibition consists of the collections of Matti Milius (1945-2015) and Mart Lepp (b. 1947), to whom collecting was part of their lifestyle, as well as businessman Mart Erik (b. 1953), medical doctor Mihkel Lember (b. 1955) and Sweden-based financial analyst Henn Koch (1943-2016).


Lenders to the exhibition: Mart Erik (EE), Egidijus Jakubauskas (LT), Andrius Jankauskas (LT), Nijolė Narijauskaitė-Gražienė (LT), Anne Koch (EE), Mihkel Lember (EE), Mart Lepp (EE), Linas Liandzbergis (LT), Pranas Morkus (LT), Visvaldas Neniškis (LT), Rūta Oginskaitė (LT), Jonas Žiburkus (LT), Vaidotas, Edvidas ir Saulius Žukai (LT), Art Museum of Estonia, MO Museum, Lewben Art Foundation, Tartu art museum.

Curators: Eglė Juocevičiūtė, Jolanta Marcišauskytė-Jurašienė, Kadri Asmer, Raivo Kelomees

Architect – Ieva Cicėnaitė

Designer – Laura Grigaliūnaitė

The project was partly financed by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuanian Council for Culture

Sponsors: "Exterus", "Imparat", Estonian Embassy in Vilnius, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to the Republic of Estonia

Partners: Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania, Lithuanian film center, Lithuanian Radio and Television 

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Silent Collections. Private art collections in Lithuania and Estonia in the 2nd half of the 20th Century
National Gallery of Art (Konstitucijos ave. 22, Vilnius)
2018 04 06 – 06 10


COLLECTING HITS – exhibition at the National Gallery of Art Exhibition "Wild Souls. Symbolism in the Baltic States" at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris
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