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). The sixth Purvītis Prize was awarded in 2019 to Ieva Epnere for her solo exhibition Sea of Living Memories.


EXPERTS IN 2019–2020

In order to ensure continuous assessment of visual arts in Latvia, the expert group of the seventh Purvītis Prize has already begun its work. From 1 January 2019 until end of December 2020, it will regularly nominate artists for the next prize. The expert group consists of Līna Birzaka-Priekule, exhibition curator and Head of the Creative Studio at the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall / LNMA, Laima Slava, art historian, Editor-in-Chief at publishing house Neputns, Ieva Kalniņa, art historian and curator, Dr. art. Andris Teikmanis, professor and Prorector in Study and Research Work at the Art Academy of Latvia, Kaspars Vanags, curator and art theoretician, Kārlis Vērpe, philosopher, and Alise Careva, founder and Director of gallery Careva Contemporary.



The Purvītis Prize 2019 jury consisted of Māra Lāce, Director of the Latvian National Museum of Art, Jānis Zuzāns, Chair of the Board of SIA Alfor, which is the main supporter of LNMA, Gregor Muir, Director of Collections, International Art at Tate (UK), Ursula Krinzinger, owner and Manager of the Galerie Krinzinger (Austria), Galila Barzilaï-Hollander, art collector (Belgium), Sergey Khachaturov (Сергей Хачатуров), art curator, historian and critic (Russia), as well as Imants Tillers, Australian Latvian artist (Australia).


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


Project is supported by SIA Alfor.




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