This is Jānis Kalmīte

By Gwylym Owen

Full image (click)

Jānis Kalmīte (2 March 1907, Kauguri parish – 3 July 1996, USA) was a Latvian expressionist painter and among the best-known artists in the Latvian post-World War II diaspora community. His proclaim is joined with the progress of a singular theme – the rija. Rijas, or threshing barns, were historically in the midst of the oldest structures on the traditional Latvian homestead. Throughout his half-century of exile from Latvia, Kalmīte transformed the rija into an artistic symbol for the persistence of Latvian ethnic culture in the position of onslaught and bustle by foreign powers.

Coming of age during the first become old of Latvia’s independence amongst the two World Wars, Kalmīte studied in the figural master studio of Ģederts Eliass at the Latvian Academy of Art, from which he graduated in 1935. He allied the artists’ society Mūksalieši, whose avowed mission was to manufacture a Latvian national art, following in the footsteps of artists such as Ādams Alksnis and Teodors Ūders. Kalmīte left Latvia behind his wife Alīda (born Zīverts) and infant daughter Guna, as political refugees in 1944, when Latvia was invaded by the Soviet Union. He spent six years as a displaced person in Germany (where a second daughter, Lelde, was born) and subsequently immigrated to America at age forty-three. While he lived to witness the re-establishment of Latvian independence in 1991, he never returned to his homeland. He died at age 89 and his remains were forward-thinking taken to his hometown of Valmiera, Latvia for interment in the Kalmīte intimates plot.

During the course of his career, Kalmīte participated in over 100 exhibitions in the United States, Canada, Latvia, Germany, Sweden and additional European countries. The 100th anniversary of his birth was commemorated in 2007 considering a solo exhibition at the Latvian National Museum of Art in Rīga, and in a dual exhibition taking into account the act out of his performer daughter, Lelde Alīda Kalmīte, at the Valmiera Museum (Valmieras novadpētniecibas muzejs). The Salvatorkolleg in Bad Wurzach, Germany, where Kalmīte and his relatives lived in the past immigrating to the United States in 1950, also presented an exhibition of operate the artist produced during his years in Germany.

Kalmīte spent the last 46 years of his simulation in Minnesota, but was never fully integrated either artistically or socially into American society. His publicize is approximately unknown in American artistic circles, but within the global Latvian diaspora community his fame grew during his lifetime. After his death a substantial amassing of his ham it up was bequeathed to the Valmiera museum, and the Latvian National Museum of Art next possesses a addition of his paintings, including several in front pre-war works. His paintings may be found in hundreds of private collections throughout the world, and Gallery Antonija in Rīga represents his perform today.

Although his enactment is strongly nationalistic, Kalmīte was terribly interested in the progress of Modernism and he described himself as an expressionist. The enactment of Vincent van Gogh was a major into the future influence, and he greatly admired many European modernist artists, such as Rouault, Vlaminck and, in particular, Braque. After immigrating to the United States, he was in addition to influenced by American Abstract Expressionism, and stylistically his late works grew increasingly abstract. Today his accomplish is becoming better known in his homeland, as the history of Latvian diaspora art begins to be absorbed into the overall chronicles of Latvian 20th-century art.

What do you think of the works of Jānis Kalmīte?

Use the form below to say your opinion about Jānis Kalmīte. All opinions are welcome!

After Reading: This is Jānis Kalmīte, You might also enjoy

This is Ivan Yizhakevych

Ivan Sydorovych Yizhakevych (Ukrainian: Іва́н Си́дорович Їжаке́вич; 1864–1962) was a