Heldur Viires' private collection
The large collection of different works of art belonging to the artist Heldur Viires reflects the activities of the Tartu Circle, a group of artists in Tartu. Some of these artists, including Viires himself, were sent to a prison camp in 1949. The Tartu Circle used the picturesque style, which opposed the Soviet view of art. In this way, young artists in the group resisted the strict rules of Socialist Realism.
Tartu Raekoja plats 8, Estonia 51003
Heldur Viires' private collection
Kilmė ir kultūrinė veikla
The private collection of Heldur Viires evolved unintentionally. The first drawings by his friends who formed the Tartu Circle were left to him during his study years at the Pallas Art School. When he and some of his friends were arrested and sent to prison camp, his belongings stayed in a big chest in his apartment on Town Hall Square in Tartu. Helle Viidas, who sat several times as a model for the art students, looked after this chest and the objects in it, including the works of art. When Viires returned to Tartu in 1956, he retrieved his possessions.
These early drawings, which form the main part of the collection, depict the atmosphere of the 1940s among art students in Tartu. Bohemian creativity is expressed, as well as the mindset which put art at the forefront and politics in the background. According to Viires, the only person who drew pictures with a political content was Lembit Saarts. These drawings were confiscated by the KGB, and were used as evidence for arresting and convicting the artists. Today, the drawings are kept in the case file of the group and held in the National Archives of Estonia.
The drawings in the collection by Viires therefore have no political allusions. They depict friends who drew each other, cafe scenes, and other subjects expressing the mood of the circle. The opposition activity of the group was not in fighting directly against the authorities, but ignoring their pressure. They made art for art’s sake; they were interested mainly in questions of art, and expressed this in their work. Their works are characterised by a French picturesqueness, and by the desire to play with colour.
Viires received paintings and drawings by Kaja Kärner after her death in 1998. Although they do not form the largest part of the collection, they can be considered the most important. It includes Kärner’s works from her student days, and from later times. The paintings from the 1948 painted in Hiiumaa during a summer practice still express the picturesque joy of the world that was destroyed by the Soviet authorities a year later. Abstract artworks by Kärner and by Viires himself from 1960 already express the silent resistance to the pressure by the authorities. Abstractionism gave the artists the opportunity to express ideas that were artistically important to them, and to ignore themes required by the authorities.
The collection contains 49 paintings and 140 drawings by artists of the Tartu Circle. The most important part of the collection contains paintings and drawings by Kaja Kärner, a good friend of Viires, and paintings by Viires himself. The second part of the collection is made up of drawings by other members of the circle. Some of these drawings are sketches from practice sessions. Thus, these sketches depict various items, which give a good overview of the creative atmosphere among the young artists, which had a significant influence on their later work.
- grafika: 100-499
- paveikslai: 10-99
Geografinė pastarojo meto veiklos aprėptis
Svarbūs įvykiai kolekcijos istorijoje
- visuomenei laisvai neprieinama
- Hint, Liisi
- Tark, Triin
Viires, Heldur, interview by Hint, Liisi, March 30, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection