Dace Lamberga “Latvian Art in the Age of Symbolism”
The period from the late 1890s to the First World War in Latvia is linked to the spiritual awakening of the people, the dramatic events of the 1905 revolution as well as industrialization, which left its mark not only in cities but also on the patriarchal way of life of the countryside. As the level of education of the people increased, their self-esteem grew, their horizons widened and a strong wave of professional literature, fine arts, theatre and music developed. Around the turn of the 20th century this flourishing Latvian art scene was marked by an expressive facet inspired by the peculiar imagery of myths and legends of Symbolism, interwoven with both exuberantly romantic and gloomy depressed moods. Much of the popular themes, characteristic motifs and varied stylistic expressions of the French-born mid-19th century movement, which were enthusiastically reflected in the creative work of artists from different countries, were successfully incorporated into the growing Latvian art, gaining expression in works by Janis Rozentāls, Vilhelms Purvītis, Johann Walter, Ādams Alksnis, Rūdolfs Pērle, Pēteris Krastiņš, Gustavs Šķilters and other artists.
The book will provide a comprehensive insight into the history of Symbolism in Europe and its manifestations in Latvian art.
The work of the Baltars workshop is one of the most outstanding peaks of Latvian decorative art of the 20th century.
The “Baltars” edition will be the largest and most extensive study to date on the outstanding art phenomenon of the first half of the 20th century, which has been included in the Latvian Cultural Canon and has attracted worldwide interest in recent years. The authors have carried out an extensive study of the persons and historical circumstances that contributed to the emergence and existence of this phenomenon. For the first time ever, the most complete catalogue of works has been compiled and new information provided about people without whom the Baltars porcelain would not have been created.
Despite the workshop’s brief history (1924-1930), Baltars’ production has also achieved considerable success abroad (awards at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Art in Paris in 1925), demonstrating the high artistic quality of the workshop’s products in the global context. This may be due to the successful synthesis of European art and the spirit of Latvian national art in the Baltars porcelain.