Art Society Pallas 100. Birth and Rebirth
The name Pallas is a familiar one in the cultural history of Estonia, but most of us lack deeper knowledge about it. Nevertheless, the society, born at the same time as the Republic of Estonia, played a vital role in the development of Estonian cultural thought and sensibilities.
In addition to artists, Pallas united people from other areas, such as writers, architects, art historians and art benefactors. In 1919, the society founded a school of arts, which became Estonia’s first institution providing higher art education and lifted our art education to the same level as the rest of Europe. The society organised a number of exhibitions and managed – before its forced liquidation in 1940 – to initiate the establishment of the Tartu Art Museum.
The works of art on display come from the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia, the Tartu Art Museum, the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre, the Art Society Pallas and private owners.
The display centres on the ten people who signed the first statutes of the Art Society Pallas on 21 January 1918: Aleksander Tassa, Konrad Mägi, Auguste Pärn, Alma Johanson (neé Koskel), Johannes Einsild, Voldemar Kangro-Pool, Klara (Claire) Holst, Marie Reisik, Mart Pukits and Ado Vabbe. Some of these people were well known in those days and still are, while others were and remain obscure or realised themselves in some other field besides art. An eleventh man – Friedebert Tuglas – can be added to the ten, although his signature is missing from the statutes for an unknown reason, yet he was involved in the establishment of the society. From the time of the restoration of the Pallas, we have picked six artists, personae and carriers of the Palladian thought and spirit on both sides of the Iron Curtain through the occupation years into the new liberation: Ann Audova, Linda Kits-Mägi, Karin Luts, Alfred Kongo, Eduard Rüga and Voldemar Vaga.
Thematic evenings with the curators will take place on 15 February, 19 March and 19 April.
Together, we will look at the years of the foundation of the society, the Gripenberg scandal, which reflected the difficult birth of modern dance, and the re-establishment of the Tartu society 30 years ago.
Exhibition curators: Enn Lillemets and Ülle Kruus
Exhibition design and graphic design: Inga Heamägi
Education programmes: Liisi Selg
Ado Vabbe. Street Scene. Paris. 1924. Art Museum of Estonia