The book about Ģederts Eliass, one of the most mysterious and underestimated Latvian painters among the popular artists of the 1920–1930. It includes about 500 images of works by the painter – a selection of his oeuvre from the foundations of the Latvian National Museum of Art and Ģederts Eliass Jelgava History and Art Museum as well as works from private collections. Most of the works are published for the first time.
From the present-day perspective, Eliass’ oeuvre reveals him as the most outstanding figure in Latvian painting of the first half of the 20th century.
The book strives to give answers to several questions: what was the phenomenon of the artist’s native homestead Zīlēni and the influence of his family background; what was his role in the revolution of 1905 – that of an anarchist, social democrat or simply a youth who was carried away by romantic ideals; why did he chose to study in Brussels and Paris in comparison with other Latvian artists of his generation who obtained their professional training in Riga or Russia; which was his true image – a taciturn and solitary personality who had wildly romantic and even tragic personal life; a teacher of several generations of artists at the Latvian Academy of Art; an art researcher who regularly visited museums of Europe; an author of essays about art and editor of Latvian Encyclopaedia of the interwar period and Vilhelms Purvītis’ book on art history. From a painter who likes to experiment to the classic who has created an epic story in painting of the Latvian farm – this is the scope of themes included in the monograph about artist Ģederts Eliass.
The book is supplemented by memoirs of Izabella Cielēna, niece of Ģederts Eliass, and Jurģis Skulme, son of his friend Uga Skulme. Included are private archive materials of Elza Ružģiete, cousin of Ģederts Eliass, as well as private correspondence. Included in the book is also a list of bibliography and in index of persons.