State Support for Artists in Inter-War Lithuania
was the life of artists in inter-war Lithuania? Could a free-lance artist
maintain himself by his work? Did artists receive support from the government?
State commissions appeared in the 1930s: new public buildings, office
interiors were designed, competitions of monument design were held,
Lithuania took part in the world exhibitions in Paris and New York.
The War Museum acted as an art patron and gave commissions to a group
of academist painters.
Since the first years of the existence of pre-war independent Lithuania,
the state performed the function of an art patron. In 1919 the State
Archaeological Committee was established. Its task was to collect, preserve
and explore the historical heritage, to found museums of archaeology
and history, and to coordinate monument protection, research and museum
activities. In 191922 the laws of state support for studies abroad
were adopted. Artists were entitled to support for the studies of crafts
and applied art. Almost each year the Ministry of Education assigned
funds to buy works for the collection of the Čiurlionis Gallery.
However, artists found the amount of state support insufficient and
accused the state of its lack of attention to art and artists. It was
extremely difficult to draw up a consistent long-term program of art
policy on account of constant changes of governments. For a long time
the government did not have a separate structure responsible for the
coordination of art institutions, official art events and the dispersion
of art in the country and abroad.