Forever Feminine

The Work of Johannes Greenberg and Ferdi Sannamees



Forever feminine in the work of Greenberg and Sannamees


The exhibition Forever Feminine, which opens at the Adamson-Eric Museum on Friday, 8 July, displays the part of the oeuvres of the painter Johannes Greenberg and the sculptor Ferdi Sannamees that values the eternally beautiful and harmonious aspects of femininity.

“Women have inspired artists for thousand of years,” says one of the curators of the exhibition, Pekka Erelt. “This thematic exhibition, which got its title from Greenberg’s oil painting, presents interpretations created by two artists which differ greatly in both form and content, but the deeper reflection of the nature of woman, caught in timeless works of art, speaks to the viewer in any era.”

The exhibition Forever Feminine clearly reflects the dynamic of the modernist tendencies of the first half of the 20th century, and highlights the unique work of two Estonian artists, Johannes Greenberg and Ferdi Sannamees. Both masters expressed the complex spiritual states of their portrayed people in a psychologically convincing and artistically remarkable way throughout their lives.


“The idea for this exhibition came from Pekka Erelt, a member of the Society of Friends of Art of the Art Museum of Estonia,” said the co-curator of the exhibition, Ülle Kruus. “In addition to the state collections from Tallinn and Tartu, the display includes a dozen works of art from private owners which have seldom been shown to the public.”


Greenberg and Sannamees were from the same generation, and always searched for something in the multiple layers of their expressive styles. They both characteristically delved into the nature of the women they depicted. They were also prepared to reincarnate their women in a wide variety of roles – from primadonna to loving mother, from dancer to viewer enjoying a theatre performance. The keywords that describe their portraits and figural compositions are beauty, harmoniousness, artistry, dedication and spiritual wealth.


The talents of Johannes Greenberg (1887–1951) and Ferdi Sannamees (1895–1963) were supplemented by their study environments. After the acquisition of art education in their homeland, both artists had direct contacts with the various art centres of Europe. Munich, Dresden, Moscow and Paris are only a few of the metropolises where they studied, lived and showed their work.


The curators of the exhibition are Pekka Erelt and Ülle Kruus, the designer is Andres Tolts, and the educational and visitor programmes were compiled by Liisi Selg. The exhibition project received support from the Gambling Tax Council and Cultural Endowment.

The exhibition Forever Feminine at the Adamson-Eric Museum can be visited from 8 July to 13 November 2011. It is a unique supplement to the long series of exhibitions on women and female artists.