The National Gallery of Art of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art celebrates the 700th jubilee of Vilnius by opening at 6 p.m. Thursday, 9 November, an international event Vilnius, Wilno, Vilne 1918–1948. One City – Many Stories. It was developed by the National Gallery of Art of the LNMA together with the National Museum in Krakow (Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie) and includes the artwork lent by the Lithuanian and Polish museums, archives and other institutions. The exhibition is organized under the auspices of the Culture Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Simonas Kairys, and the Culture and National Heritage Minister of the Republic of Poland, Piotr Gliński.
The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue evoke interwar, war and early post-war Vilnius as captured by the artistic documents: paintings, graphic prints, fine-art photography and sculpture pieces safeguarded by the Lithuanian and Polish memory institutions.
The exhibition Vilnius, Wilno, Vilne 1918–1948. One City – Many Stories curated by professors Giedrė Jankevičiūtė and Andrzej Szczerski was on at the National Museum in Krakow this past summer, and is now about to open in Vilnius.
‘Upon learning of the intent by my colleagues Giedrė Jankevičiūtė and Andrzej Szczerski to curate an exhibition dedicated to the art of interwar Vilnius, I got slightly concerned. A similar attempt, undertaken not even within a decade since the fall of the Berlin Wall, was not very productive, indeed, it was a failure. My misgivings proved ungrounded, as the past quarter century has yielded beautiful results in different terms. The exhibit and the collection of papers on the subject are witnesses to the maturity of the inflaming project, and I am positive that they will be of interest to the exhibition visitors’, says Dr Arūnas Gelūnas, director general of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art, who also wishes visitors to discover Vilnius-yet-unseen.
Multiethnic and multi-cultural Vilnius in artistic perception
The exhibition Vilnius, Wilno, Vilne 1918–1948. One City – Many Stories presents Vilnius of the period through the eyes of the artists of the multiethnic and multi-cultural city. It was primarily the representatives of Polish culture who created a collective picture of Vilnius during these years, yet equally important part of this image are the artworks witnessing the perception of the city by its Lithuanian, Jewish, Belarussian, Russian, Ukrainian and other citizen.
The exhibition presents Vilnius during the town’s intensely complicated period through the images produced by the contemporaries, mostly works of art and photography. In 1918–1948, the city repeatedly changed hands, becoming part of either Poland or Lithuania, it suffered Nazi and Soviet occupations. These occupations and wars radically and irreversibly altered the composition of the city’s population and its social fabric, leaving also a striking footprint on its material, architectural and urban, body.
For the exhibition, over 250 artworks have been selected from the key Lithuanian and Polish museums, libraries and archives.
Alongside with the well-known and repeatedly reproduced works by the classics of Vilnius art, Ludomir Sleńdziński, Michał Rouba, Jerzy Hoppe, Jan Bułhak, Adomas Varnas, Vytautas Kairiūkštis, Ben Zion Zuckerman, visitors will also see the paintings, prints and photographs by the younger generation of artists, including Hanna Milewska, Józef Hadassa Gurewicz-Grodzka, Sofija Urbonavičiūtė-Subačiuvienė, Vladas Drėma, Moï Ver (Moišė Vorobeičik). Some of them are on display for the first time.
‘The art museums have a large educational potential, and it is a pleasure to admit that through this exhibition and the catalogue they manifest it to such an extent. With this project, on its 700th year, Vilnius will enter one more important story into the book of the city’s narratives. For fashioning this story, I want to extend my sincere gratitude to those behind the idea of the exhibition, and everyone who helped to accomplish it, above all, to my colleagues from the Krakow National Museum and the National Gallery of Art. I am sure that it is just the first of our joint interesting works that lie ahead us’, says Dr Arūnas Gelūnas, director general of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art.
The exhibition catalogue features the artistic legacy of Vilnius of the interwar, war and post-war years
A comprehensive exhibition catalogue compiled by Prof. Hab. Dr Giedrė Jankevičiūtė and Prof. Dr Andrzej Szczerski presents and analyses the previously uncharted artistic legacy of Vilnius from the interwar, war and post-war period. It carries papers by the leading Lithuanian and Polish art researchers and historians of the period, contributed specially for the publication.
Press conference takes place at 11 a.m. Thursday, 9 November, at the National Gallery of Art of the LNMA (Konstitucijos St 22, Vilnius).
The exhibition Vilnius, Wilno, Vilne 1918–1948. One City – Many Stories opens at 6 p.m. Thursday, 9 November at the National Gallery of Art of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art and will run through 4 February 2024.
On the occasion of the exhibition opening, at 6 p.m. 10 November, the NGA auditorium will host an open lecture by the Polish historian and urbanist Łukasz Medeksza, Spying and falsifying: the Polish artists and urban planners in the Home Army’s conspiracy in Vilnius during the years of World War II.
Project financed by: Lithuanian Council for Culture, Lithuanian Research Council
General supporter: ORLEN Lietuva
Project partners: National Museum in Warsaw, Vilnius Museum, Polish Institute in Vilnius, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania
Information supporter: LRT Plius, JCDecaux, Vilnius 700
Supporters: BTA draudimas, Fundermax, Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union
The exhibits and photographic materials have been received thanks to the courtesy of even nineteen Lithuanian and eleven Polish museums, archives, libraries and other institutions.
Information provided by: Dr Ieva Mazūraitė-Novickienė, head of the Information Department of the National Gallery of Art of the LNMA, by phone +370 5 212 2997, e-mail: [email protected]
Indrė Polimaitienė, co-ordinator of Communication and Marketing Department of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art, by phone +3705 262 1883 or e-mail [email protected]
The Lithuanian National Museum of Art is one of the largest national art museums in Lithuania with the aim of building, safekeeping, researching, conserving, restoring, curating and exhibiting the collections of the arts and cultural artefacts of national significance at its nine divisions in Vilnius, Klaipėda, Palanga, and Juodkrantė.