INTERNATIONAL CONTACTS IN LATVIAN SCULPTURE IN VARIOUS PHASES OF THE 20TH CENTURY (Starpnacionalie sakari latviesu telnieciba dazados 20. gadsimta celienos)
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In sculpture, as in other forms of art, there are radical differences between the type of cultural contacts that existed in the first half of the 20th century and the strictly regimented system of contacts that prevailed after the war. At the beginning of the century, when professional experience was being accumulated by Gustavs Skilters, Teodors Zalkalns and Burkards Dzenis, they could not find proper conditions for their work in their fatherland, so they lived and worked outside of Latvia. With the help of scholarships from the Stieglitz school, they first traveled to Paris, where they encountered the artistic principles of Rodin. Representatives of the next generation - Karlis Zale, Emils Melderis and Marta Skulme - obtained their professional training in Russia, and during a time of social transformations, they encountered radically avant-garde ideas, traveling to the cultural centers of Europe and seeking to expand their links to the various directions of modem art. In the late 1920s and in the 1930s, some sculptors who produced monuments and who received money from the Latvian Cultural Fund also went on extended trips, e.g., to Egypt. Sculptors were still enchanted with France, Italy and Greece, better contacts were developed with the Scandinavian countries. During this period there was expanded cooperation with foreign partners in the purchase of materials and in dealing with various technical issues. In the post-war period, there was no longer any freedom of choice in studying the cultural experience of other countries and in cooperating with foreigners. There were, however, certain ties to the closest neighboring republics of Lithuania and Estonia. A Baltic sculptural exhibition was staged in Riga in 1958. After the early 1970s, there were slightly broader opportunities for international contacts. Beginning in 1972, there were regular sculpture quadrennials in Riga, which became an important center for sculpture. After 1979 the expansion of international contacts was facilitated by annual sculpture symposia that were held in Dzintari.
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