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2000 | 1 | 120-128

Article title

CLASSICAL MODERNISM AND EUROPE, 1920 - 1925 (Klasiskais modernisms un Eiropa, 1920 - 1925)


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Latvian Classical Modernism is a movement which appeared around the time of World War I, and at the European level it may well seem to have been a delayed phenomenon. The fact is, however, that Latvian culture as such was very new at that time. There were few people who could promote the influences and international contacts of modem art in Latvia, and in any event these processes were hindered both by Latvia's economic situation and by its geographic remoteness from the cultural centers of Western Europe. It was the painter Jazeps Grosvalds, employed in 1919 at the Latvian embassy in Paris, who began to shape links between Latvian and French culture. After he died in 1920, the cooperation was continued by artist Romans Suta, who published articles about the new Latvian art in the French journal L'Esprit Nouveau in 1921 and 1924. Sculptor Karlis Zale in 1922 attended the congress of Union Inernationaler Fortschrittlicher Kunstler in Dusseldorf, and, in collaboration with Arnolds Dzirkalis and Iwan Puni, he published a proclamation in the journal De Stijl. Filippo Tomaso Marinetti, writing in the monthly Der Futurismus in 1922, published a manifesto of Futurism which was illustrated by a Cubist bust produced by Zale. In 1923, Niklavs Stnunke, Karlis Zale, Arnolds Dzirkalis and Sigismunds Vidbergs were invited by the German Novembergruppe to exhibit works at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition. In the same year, also in Berlin, Zale and Dzirkalis produced the first art journal in Latvian, Laikmets, which contained information about the theoretic and philosophical underpinnings of the avant-garde movement. In 1924 a group of artists from Riga exhibited in Tartu and Tallinn, which were the first Latvian art exhibitions abroad. Also in 1924, Latvian artists and members of the Polish group Blok staged a joint exhibition in Riga but in I925 Aleksandra Be!cova, Romans Suta and Erasts Sveics showed works at the Parisian exhibition L'Art d'Aujourd'hui.


  • Dace Lamberga, Latvian National Museum of Art, K. Valdemara iela 10a, Riga LV-1010, Latvia


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Publication order reference


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