Estonian painting from Enn Kunila’s collection, 1910 - 1940. An event not to be missed at the Novecento Museum.
Running at the Novecento Museum is an interesting exhibition on the Estonian painters of the first half of the 20th century. A unique opportunity to learn more about a school of painting that, although little known to the general public, will reveal great surprises.
The bright colors are common to both the Nordic landscapes, that emit an almost mystical feeling toward nature, and the city views, especially following the progressive urbanization of the entire Baltic region. Most of the artists whose work is on exhibit (Konrad Mägi, Ants Laikmaa, Elmnar Kits, Villem Ormisson, Endel Koks, Nikolai Triik and Herbert Lukk), looking for new inspiration and opportunities, soon moved elsewhere (Paris, Munich, St. Petersburg) thus opening themselves to the new waves of European painting, particularly Fauvism - the term comes from “fauves”, “wild beasts”, a name given to some painters because of the “wild” expressive violence in their use of colour - and Post-Impressionism, particularly in reference to Cézanne, Seurat and Gauguin. Through the personal interpretation of these poetics, filtered by a northern light, the Estonian school of painting was born. Konrad Mägi is certainly its most representative artist.
A special section of the exhibition is dedicated to Mägi, and illustrates his brief artistic career: from his early studies in Estonia, interrupted to work as a labourer, to the industrial design school in St. Petersburg, and political commitments during the 1905 revolution. His career is also illustrated through his many trips (Paris, Finland, Norway and Estonia again); it was during the second Estonian period that he decided to found the first school of painting in his region, despite serious health problems. He left a little later, in 1921, for Italy (Rome, Venice, Capri) where he was literally transfixed by the warm light of the South. It was with his eyes still full of the warmth of Italian views - the sketches he was reworking - that Konrad Mägi, only just returned home, died prematurely in 1925, just 46 years of age. “For us, art is the only way to salvation, because at times when the soul is filled with the eternal suffering of life, it can give us peace, making possible what life cannot give us” (Konrad Mägi).
The exhibition is sponsored by the City of Florence, organised and coordinated by Mus.ee and with the crucial collaboration of the Italy-Estonia Association. The collector, Enn Kunila, one of the best-known Estonian entrepreneurs, is Chairman of the Management Board of the Art Museum of Estonia Friends of Art Society.
Various side events, films, conferences, and guided tours, will be held throughout the exhibition period.
Visions from the North
Estonian painting from Enn Kunila’s Collection, 1910 - 1940
Novecento Museum, March 4 – May 21, 2017