Antanas Samuolis (18991942). Priemiestis.
1931, drobė, aliejus, 44,5 x 37,5
Lietuvos dailės muziejaus rinkinys
Antanas Samuolis (18991942). Saulėgrąžos.
1933, drobė, aliejus, 60 x 75
Edmundo Armoškos kolekcija
This early spring
a private Vilnius gallery Maldis featured an exhibition
dedicated to the charismatic Lithuanian painter of the last century,
a key member of the local Ars group (1930s), Antanas Samuolis.
The exhibition featured the painters best-known works from the
National M.K. Čiurlionis Museum and the Lithuanian Art Museum.
In addition, on display were twenty-six canvases in the style, manner
and iconography of Samuolis from the Edmundas Ramoškas collection.
These latter canvases, which had never been showcased before, were doomed
to become a bone of contention for local artists and art critics. Several
cultural publications ran angry articles by artists and art critics
challenging the attribution of these alleged works by Samuolis. There
was also harsh criticism in regard of the idea of the cooperation between
state run museums and private galleries.
The author of the article leaves aside the issue of alleged forgery
(the findings of the Pranas Gudynas Cultural Values Conservation and
Restoration Center is still due) and focuses instead on what she calls
social problems revealed by the exhibition and its reverberations. According
to her, the two famous painters who published the most vociferous article
claiming that the show should be closed and the Culture Ministry should
take measures took anti-civic and anti-liberal position. The attitude
of the painters, the author argues, was molded by the epoch of the quiet
Modernism and the militant Soviet times (the thing of the past).
Their distrust against private capital is biased and precludes any critical
dialogue. They identify authors originality and authenticity with
the very essence of art, ignoring the fact that we live in the times
of multiplication and interpretation. They failed to accept the exhibition
as a cultural provocation (such was its original intent), and dismissed
it as a sacrilegious act. Right away, the author blames the very same
artists for failing to protest against a centurys mystification,
the project to rebuild the Rulers Palace in Vilnius. Thus, she
concludes, such an attitude is also inconsistent and pseudo-historical.
Another target of the author is an article by a young art critic who
admits being disappointed by the very oeuvre of Samuolis, while she
was used to the virtual images of the painter. The problem is, the author
concludes, not the fact that the art critic is unable to step beyond
the stereotypes of art history, but showing-off an anti-historical attitude.