The Decorative Woodworking Art Collection

The collection comprises about 500 artworks: furniture, floor and wall decorations, multifunctional ware, boxes, candlesticks, figurines and wattle-work. A unique part of it is the Australian aboriginal crafts collection donated to the museum by Mr. V. Sprindžuks – a Latvian living in Australia. It includes not only domestic utensils and ware, but also totems, boomerangs, war clubs, spears and figurines. Another donation is a collection of decorative plates fashioned by the artist Ulrihs Vasks who due to his anti-Soviet views was deported to Siberia and learned the skills of woodworking there.

Furniture preserved in the collection shows local fashion and tastes for interiors in the 1930s, characterised by attempts to establish a national style. Furniture sets were executed after the sketches of Ansis Cīrulis, Jūlijs Madernieks, Arvīds Dzērvītis and Jēkabs Bīne. Other artists of the time such as Hugo Mercs, Augusts Lauris, Emīls Balodis, Ēriks Rubenis, Jānis Laduzāns are represented in the collection with smaller objects: candlesticks, chests, desk sets and souvenirs. The collection holds also wattle-work of the 1930s: ware, decorative plates and baskets made from spruce and pine tree roots, fashioned by Otīlija Kaža and Emma Priedīte – outstanding masters in the field.
However the greatest part of the collection comprises artworks created after World War II. Works by Voldemārs Tiltiņš, Ēriks Rubenis, Aleksandrs Kuļevskis can be viewed as pompous art examples characteristic to the time of living under the Stalin's authoritarian regime.
The collection of figurines which gained great acclaim from the part of local population during the 1960s is represented by either humorous or ironical woodcuttings characteristic to the this period fashioned by Līze Dzeguze, Krišjānis Kugra, Eduards Sidrabs and Arnolds Roga. Accentuation of natural properties of material itself can be perceived in the artworks by Rūdolfs Mākulēns, Uldis Salaks, Reinis Ritums, Dionīsijs Pauģis and others.
In the 1970s and 80s decorative woodworking is viewed in close relationship with architecture. Floor and wall interior decorations in wood made by the artists Jānis Poļaks, Dzintars Spalle, Guntars Zvaigzne, Andris Melders and Oļģerts Keterliņš supplement the collection.
The most essential directions in the contemporary decorative woodworking art find reflection in Jānis Straupe's compositions. Minor attention being paid to the function of utility and decorativeness, the accent lies on the properties of the material itself which helps the artist to express his artistic idea.