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The Latvian National Museum of Art Celebrates Karlis Padegs 100 Years

November 2nd, 2011 01:35:03 am

artwork: Karlis Padegs -

Riga, Latvia.- The Latvian National Museum of Art is proud to present "Karlis Padegs: Fragile Provocation" on view at the museum from November 4th through January 15th 2012. It is a little hard to believe that one hundred years have passed since the birth of Karlis Padegs (19111940), the one-time most extravagant Riga artist, who was both a dandy and an outsider at the same time. He only lived for a little over 28 years but the legends he wove around himself did not allow him to be forgotten, even in the post-war, Soviet years. This artist did not have pretensions of copying modernist art movements and remained a convinced figurist. He was sufficiently subjective, personal and sensitive for the characteristics of expressionism, the new objectivity and even surrealism to be seen in his drawings and paintings.

artwork: Karlis Padegs - There are also hints of the 19th century fin de sicle decadence that were more alien to the public of the day. Karlis Padegs centenary memorial exhibition is an opportunity to reconfirm that this crisis time artist, this sophisticated draftsman and paradoxical thinker, is just as modern in todays world whose reality is increasingly being replaced by the parallel virtual reality. On show in the White Hall will be a selection of Padegs drawings and paintings from 19281940 from the National Museum of Art and private collections. They include works that have not been seen in a long time or even never seen before. The Hege Hall will feature portraits and works dedicated to Padegs by Latvian artists Gotlibs Kaneps, Kurts Fridrihsons, Visvaldis Rusa, Erna Geistaute, Olgerts Skarainis, Burkards Dzenis, Bruno Strautin, Aivars Vilipsons and others.

Karlis Padegs was born on 8 October 1911 in Tornakalns, a working-class district of Riga. Padegs spent all his life in Riga with the exception of several years of his childhood during World War I when he lived in Dorpat (Tartu) Estonia. The presence of his motherland is, however, rarely felt in his art, which reflected an atmosphere more reminiscent of Chicago and Paris. Karlis Padegs became a legend within Riga's artistic life. He was a contemporary of the tempestuous Janis Tidemanis (Donis) who spent his formative years in Belgium and the barefooted tramp Irbite (pastel painter Voldemars Irbe). Some Riga inhabitants will still recall Karlis Padegs as a most extravagant personality - his Spanish hat, a red scarf, a long black coat, pig-skin gloves, a bamboo cane, patent leather shoes and a white gaiters with little black buttons. The artist may be better remembered than his exhibitions held in quite untraditional premises (at cafes, in the street, in dancing halls) or in the show-windows of L.Kreicberga's photo salon that once even attracted the attention of the police. Padegs was a Riga dandy whose doings were described in newspapers and discussed in society and who consciously played up to his public perception before exhibitions.

Karlis Padegs died in April 1940 from tuberculosis. He was only 29 years old. He suffered from it all his life and after the very productive period in the 1939 he was so exhausted that his illness finally overcame young painter and he died in warm spring night in the last months of Latvian republic. In later days he was nearly forgotten and only in the early 80s marking the end of a period of general self- complacence did one of the most peculiar Latvian artists and his work become of current interest. Over this period a great many pieces of Padeg's heritage (mostly his earlier works) were lost. Some of them may in all probability be regained.

artwork: Karlis Padegs -

The main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Krijana Valdemara Street is one of the most impressive in the Park and Boulevard Circle area of Riga. It was designed by the museums first director, the Baltic German architect and art historian Wilhelm Neumann and built in 1905. The structure, as well as the parameters of the exhibition rooms, corresponded to the level of requirementsrequired standard for an art museum in the Europe of at the previous turn of the centuriescentury. The majestic faade is designed in the baroque and classicist styles; the sculptural group of the central fronton was created by the sculptor August Volz. The interior of the building in the lobby and the ornaments of the staircase banister feature elements of Art Nouveau. The top-floor lobby is adorned by with six decorative semi-circle circular paintings by the great Latvian painter Vilhelms Purvitis and the a master of Estonian classical art Gerhard von Rosen. The building is a listed architectural landmark of national significance. Reconstruction and restoration work is scheduled in the foreseeable future. The permanent exhibitions of the museum trace the development of professional art in the Baltic region and Latvia from the mid-1700s to the present day, as well as feature featuring a number of significant episodes periods in the Russian art of from the 18th century to the first half of the 20th century. The Russian art collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art is the richest in the Baltic countries. The Latvian National Museum of Art regularly holds art exhibitions and scientific conferences, as well as diverse art and culture cultural events, takes part in international projects, as well as compiles compiling and editising museum publications. Alongside the permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Latvian National Museum of Art is known for its educational projects. Visitors are offered specialist-guided tours and educational programmes. Visit the museum's website at ... http://www.lnmm.lv

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