Reflections of the Era
From 28 April to 28 May 2023, the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE in Riga (Doma laukums 6) hosts an exhibition Reflections of the Era presenting the works by 20th century Latvian artists from the Rietumu Bank’s painting collection.
Every art collection has its historical origins. Rietumu Bank’s collection is only slightly younger than the bank itself, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2022, and they can considered to be contemporaries. The art collection is comprised of works by European, American and Latvian artists.
For the exposition of this exhibition, a selection of 20th century paintings by Latvian artists has been chosen, because it depicts the existential reality of this age, which is reflected in the European art tradition, but with a Latvian perspective and touch. It melds the emotions felt by the artist and the viewer, and it is about the passion to live, thanks to or despite the age. At the same time, it is an important part of Latvian art history, which is now temporarily publicly accessible, while ordinarily these works of art are located in the bank’s working premises.
Landscape and still life are among the most popular subjects of the paintings in the collection, which also describes the cultural environment. Just like objects and flowers, forest horizons, river coves, the seaside and urban scenes have the power to actively manifest the spirit of a creative personality. These motifs inspired Konrāds Ubāns, Aleksandra Beļcova, Ludolfs Liberts, Eduards Kalniņš, Leo Svemps, Rūdolfs Pinnis, Valdis Kalnroze, Imants Vecozols and many others. In turn, people in all their guises have always fascinated Jānis Ferdinands Tīdemanis, Jānis Pauļuks and Džemma Skulme. As tends to be the case with private collections, the link that connects these works is personal and subjective, where pragmatic considerations go hand in hand with irrational impulse – I like it, and that is all that matters.
The decision to accent cultural values on the occasion of its anniversary is logical – Rietumu Bank is a long-standing supporter of various art projects. In collaboration with the bank, the Latvian National Museum of Art has organised major exhibitions and published catalogues including Metaphysics of Light. Paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky (2021), The Times and Works of Léon Bakst (2016), the biggest exhibition in Latvia to date of works of jewellery from the House of Fabergé (2012), Belgian Art. Early 20th Century. Collection of the Museum of Foreign Art (2010), 19th–20th Russian paintings from the LNMA collection Truth and Beauty (2009), Indonesian Cultural and Crafts Days (2009), Sèvres Porcelain. 18th–21st Century under the auspices of the French Spring Festival (2007) among others.