Founded in the early 2008, the Purvītis Prize was launched to amass regular and systematic information about the latest visual arts events in Latvia, promote development of new projects and original ideas, acknowledge the best achievements in Latvian professional visual arts and popularise the success of Latvian artists both in Latvia and abroad.

The award is named after the Old Master of Latvian painting Vilhelms Purvītis (1872–1945). He was an outstanding artist and art professor who won critical acclaim both at home and internationally. The co-founder of the national school of art and the pioneer of the national landscape painting, Vilhelms Purvītis is one of the all-time most influential figures in Latvian cultural and art life. He was the Head of the Riga Art School, the Director of the Riga Museum of Art and the founder of the collection of Latvian art, the founder and the first Rector of the Art Academy of Latvia and for many years, the Head of the landscape masterclass at the Academy, the Commissioner General of all the representative Latvian art exhibitions abroad during the interwar period.


The authority, educational work and artistic style of this prominent landscapist and Fellow of the St. Petersburg Academy of Art has left an impact on several generations of Latvian artists. A wise and farsighted culture politician, Vilhelms Purvītis was an active supporter of the young artists of the time and discovered a number of talented painters who later played important roles on the Latvian art scene. The name of Vilhelms Purvītis has become a sign of national identity, both in the history of Latvian art and in the eyes of the general public. Therefore the Prize is a kind of synthesis of established, classical values and the seemingly momentary, contemporary art processes.


The Purvītis Prize is awarded biannually to an artist or a group of artists representing Latvia with outstanding work, which is deemed to be deeply connected to the developments of the era and forming a bridge between contemporary life, spiritual ideals and intrinsic values. The artist rated highest by a panel of experts and an international jury is selected as the winner.


The Prize of 28 500 EUR pre-tax is the most prestigious and the most substantial art award in Latvia.



The first Purvītis Prize was awarded in 2009 to Katrīna Neiburga for her video work Solitude. The second winner of the Purvītis Prize in 2011 became artist Kristaps Ģelzis for his solo exhibition Varbūt (Maybe). The third Purvītis Prize in 2013 has won Andris Eglītis for his one-man show Zemes darbi (Ground Works). The fourth winner of the Purvītis Prize in 2015 was Miķelis Fišers for his personal exhibition Netaisnība (Injustice). The Purvītis Prize 2017 has been awarded to a group of artists – Krišs Salmanis, Anna Salmane and Kristaps Pētersons – for their exhibition Dziesma (Song).


EXPERTS IN 2017–2018

In order to ensure continuous assessment of the creative work within visual arts in Latvia, the expert working group of the sixth Purvītis Prize has already commenced their work, which will continue throughout 2017 and 2018, and regularly propose nominees for the prize. The expert working group consists of Astrīda Rogule, art historian and Curator of the Contemporary Art Collection at the LNMA, Inese Baranovska, art historian, curator and Head of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design / LNMA, Vilnis Vējš, art critic, Kaspars Vanags, Head of Arts Programmes at ABLV Charitable Foundation, Sniedze Kāle, art historian, curator and Manager of Mūkusala Art Salon, art historian Inese Riņķe and Zane Onckule, art historian, Programme Director at Contemporary Art Centre kim?.



The jury of the Purvītis Prize 2017 consisted of Māra Lāce, Director of the Latvian National Museum of Art, Jānis Zuzāns, Chairman of the Board at SIA Alfor – the main sponsor of LNMA, Thaddaeus Ropac, gallerist, owner of the Galerie Thaddaeuss Ropac in Paris, Salzburg and London (Austria), Juliet Bingham, Curator at Tate Modern (UK), Hedwig Fijen, Founder and Director of international foundation Manifesta (Netherlands), Rebecca Russo, art collector (Italy), Mark Allen Svede, art historian and professor at Ohio University (USA).


The Purvītis Prize competition in visual arts is organised by the Latvian National Museum of Art in collaboration with the Museum Patron, SIA Alfor, association Art Platform (Mākslas platforma), SIA Culture Project Agency ‘INDIE’ (Kultūras projektu aģentūra “INDIE”) and P.R.A.E. Public Relations (P.R.A.E. Sabiedriskās attiecības).


Project is supported by SIA Alfor.




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