Paintings exhibit “Mājas koncerts. Johanam Valteram −150” – in Riga until May 19th

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Museum “Riga Art Nouveau Center” invites visitors to get acquainted with paintings by Johans Valters in a renovated interior of the early 20th century. The music theme is present in the exhibition – home concerts, playing music with friends. Music theme is present also throughout the creative life of the artist. The exhibition displays works from private collections and partner museums.

The 3rd of February 2019 was the 150th anniversary since the birth of Latvian-German painter Johanam Valteram (1869–1932). Revealing some aspects of his abundant artistic legacy, the exhibition “House Concert” at the Riga Art Nouveau Centre is a homage to the alliance of painting and music in his art and life where the violin since his early youth had similar importance as the palette and brushes.

The delicate string instrument was the painter’s companion in his study years at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts, during the first period of his independent career in the native Jelgava (1898–1906) as well as later in Dresden (1906–1916) and Berlin (1916/1917–1932) where he made a name for himself as Walter-Kurau.

Music not only continuously influenced Walter’s painterly investigations and theoretical statements in manifold ways, but also nourished friendships and family ties, creating a sense of community, belonging and home in all his places of residence. The artist’s first wife Meta Feldmann (1876–1956) was pianist and piano teacher in Jelgava and later in Riga, whereas his second wife Gertrud Matthaes (Walter-Kurau, 1883–1932) – violinist in Dresden and Berlin.

“They are all music, and it is the secret of their peculiarity,” a reviewer of the paper Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten wrote about Walter’s paintings in his memorial exhibition in 1933, highlighting the interaction between visual experience and the world of sounds as the key to understanding his personality and work.

The current exhibition deliberately narrows this dialogue of art and music to its private and intimate manifestations, inviting to trace its beginnings in Walter’s early period at the turn of the 20th century when the impressionistic sense of presence and the abstracting stylisation of Art Nouveau in an inspiring combination transformed the observed impressions and moods into visual ‘melodies’

The Dresden period in the imagery and style of Walter’s art glows as a time of fêtes galantes in colour and sound with the splendour of the so-called Belle époque translated into highly abstracted painterly impressions of theatre interiors, musical performances and festive gatherings.

During the following Berlin period Walter proceeded towards an increasingly abstract perception of nature and established that “a truly painterly delight in nature is awakened only when, beyond concrete objects, the eye begins to perceive melodious colour relationships and delicate regularities in the architecture of form”.

The “House Concert” is not only a subject represented in the exhibition and a recurrent motif of biographical evidence – it is also how the ‘life’ of artworks in a private environment at the time of their production and nowadays my be perceived and described. Besides two portraits from the Latvian National Museum of Art, all the rest of the twenty paintings are displayed by the courtesy of the Zuzāns Collection / Mūkusala Art Salon and other Latvian private collectors.

Ranging from the late 19th century to the 1920s, exhibits also include some recently discovered masterpieces of the artist.

To know information about opening times and prices CLICK HERE.