• May 26, 2014
  • 216

Vilnius in the first half of the last century


„Tygodnik Wileńszczyzny”, May 22-28 2014 no. 21 (Internet edition no. 714)

With great pleasure we announce the exhibition, which can be seen at Vytautas Kasiulis Art Museum at former Joachim Lelewel Street – called today O. Gasztołd (A. Goštauto) Street 1.

There are a few reasons to go and see. It is a practically new museum post although with more than a century of tradition. After a reconstruction it has opened last year.

A total plunder

Till the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939 and the Soviet occupation (soviet army occupied Vilnius on September 18-19) Vilnius Society of Friends of Science with its rich art collections and library was located in this building. Unfortunately in 1940 all SFS’s property (mostly Polish society’s donations) was plundered. Therefore it is worth to see the residence that was renovated thanks to the generosity of Hilary Łęski from Biała Waka. On the first floor there is an information point in three languages: Lithuanian, Polish and English. There is a short history of SFS with a portrait of H. Łęski and a documented by the Jan Bułhak statement of the 1944 damages.

After those tragic events, transformations (ironically during the long post-war years it functioned as a museum of revolution, of course the October one) and twists in the former SFS residence (there were some attempts to knock it completely down) a permanent exhibition of the new patron of the Vytautas Kasiulis Art Museum is open. The Vilnius art from the first half of XX century will reign supreme till September 14 in some halls on the floor.

Multi-culture and tolerance

Vilnius Art Society (Wileńskie Towarzystwo Artystyczne) was created in 1908. Its aim was, among others, to “engage in a mutual cultural-aesthetical work all the artists and art enthusiasts regardless their nationality”. Romualdas Budrys, the director of the Lithuanian Art Museum and Ilona Mažeikienė, the curator of the exhibition and a manager of Vytautas Kasiulis Art Museum were talking about the Society’s multi-culture and tolerance, its rich artistic oeuvre of artists from three generations that fell out to create at the beginnings of the last century.

The exhibition of 60 authors and more than 100 of their small stature, cozy could be said, works proves those priceless values. Versatility of interests, different age and various nationalities but the common denominator: city and people can be seen here on those graphics, watercolors, pastels, drawings and photos. Thanks to that exposition the past was recorded here and it will not be forgotten.

And what those names that are associated with Vilnius are! Ferdynand Ruszyc, to whom the city owes its high position in the art world, Stanisław Filibert Fleury, who photographed Vilnius and its region with enthusiasm and was an active decorator and a creator of visual setting of many public events, painters as Józef Bałzukiewicz, Adam Międzybłocki, Ludomir Sleńdziński, Bronisław Jamontt. Many more names should be mentioned as from this circle were artists thanks to whom Vilnius in 1922-1923 became a Polish center of avant-garde art. In this context we cannot skip the name of Vytautas Kairiukštis. The exhibition is concluded by the drawings of Mečislovas Bulakas that depict war and post-war damages of Vilnius. In spite of all tragedies, the Old Town is beautiful in its sadness. Because that is how Vilnius is, always and in different circumstances.

Michał Rouba’s fascinations

This is not the first exhibition of Vilnius artist at this place. Budrys recalled a recent exhibition of Michał Rouba’s works that became a discovery of its kind. He was an artist who overcame many artistic fascinations: starting with the landscape school of Jan Stanisławski, to references to works of Cezanne, Formizm and so on. Visitors were astonished by Rouba’s landscapes that are full of romantic views on cities.

Taking into consideration relatively rich Vilnius art collection of past centuries that are stored in different museums and research establishments we can hope for their availability in the future as it is the case with the exhibition “Signs of Vilnius” (Znaki Wilna).

The exhibition will be open till September 14 this year.

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/wilno-i-polowy-ubieglego-wieku

Tłumaczenie by Małgorzata Łabuda w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Małgorzata Łabuda within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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