Series of paintings "KALĒTI" (1996 - 2006)

22.05.2006. - 03.06.2006.

Kalēti is a manor in the south-west region of Kurzeme, Liepāja District. There is a granary in Kalēti that has survived all the changes brought by the 20th century. Kalēti granary plays a symbolic role in Lancmanis’ works – it is a background against which human lives have proceeded. The building has gradually deteriorated, but life goes on. The years 1830, 1914, 1950 and 2005 are four periods of time called into life in four large-scale paintings that could be conceived as independent stories.

The subject of fate permeates all of them. The paintings document the period from construction of the building in 1830 when the landlord von Nolde laid the foundation stone (Kalēti Granary I. 2005–2006) till our days when the artist portrays himself against the background of Kalēti granary (Kalēti Granary IV. 2005–2006). Today just the name has survived because the granary has disappeared beneath the former collective farm drying-kiln. The stiff winter landscape with the artist’s lonely figure tells about the inevitable changes brought by the passing of time, coinciding wit the vanitas theme found in Lancmanis’ still lifes.

The artist’s presence as a peasant, artist and collective farmer is noticeable in other works from this series as well. His colleagues, Rundāle Palace Museum employees, are models of the group portraits. But the idea of the series comes from the Kalēti native Erna Ziemele to whom Lancmanis is grateful.

The series of paintings “Kalēti” made during a ten-year period testifies to Lancmanis’ passion for art and interest in history as a psychological phenomenon, its processes and dramas of destiny.

Two earlier paintings from the series “Kalēti” – “Kalēti Granary II” and “Kalēti Granary III” – are selected by an international group of experts for the Latvian Contemporary Art Museum; this purchase for the developing collection was financially supported by the Aizkraukle Bank (affording 1 million LVL in total). Lancmanis has decided to grant his new paintings “Kalēti Granary I” and “Kalēti Granary IV” (2005–2006) to this collection as well.

Lancmanis was one of the few artists of the late 1960s who introduced photo realist painting in Latvia. Still his interests as a painter were put aside when he was offered to work at the Rundāle Palace, having spent more than forty years in this position. Alongside restoration works and saving the Palace’s artistic values, Lancmanis has dedicated much time to art-historical research as well – he has written a number of monographs on Latvian manors and palaces, regularly participating in international conferences throughout Europe.

Lancmanis resumed painting in the early 1980s and based his principles on the 17th century Dutch painting traditions. The artist’s romantic, dramatic world outlook and adapted technical means of previous centuries have developed into “conceptual romanticism”, as he has described his artistic credo. Lancmanis’ paintings – mainly still lifes and portraits – demonstrate not just his mastering of technique but also a deep understanding of history and high cultural level.

Imants Lancmanis was born in Riga, 29 July 1941.

1951–1959 Janis Rozentāls Secondary Art School
1960–1966 Department of Painting, Latvian Academy of Art

Since 1966 Participates in exhibitions
Since 1976 Rundāle Palace Director

Awards and acknowledgments:
1981 The Order “Sign of Honour”
1982 Honoured Artist of Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
1987 Medal “Mare Balticum” awarded by Martin Karl Adolf Böckler Foundation
Since 1992 Honorary Member of Latvian Academy of Sciences
1994 Three Star Order of Republic of Latvia Since 1998 Honorary Doctor of Art History

Solo exhibitions:
2006 Riga Gallery, Riga / Latvia
1999 Riga Gallery, Riga / Latvia

Selected group exhibitions (1989–2006):
1989 “Autumn 89”. Exhibition Hall Latvija, Riga / Latvia
1996 “Personal Time”. Art of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 1945–
1996. The Zachęta Gallery of Contemporary Art, Warsaw / Poland
Central Exhibition Hall Manege, St. Petersburg / Russia*
1999 “The Joy of Being”, Latvian National Art Museum, Riga / Latvia*
2003 “Still Life”. Gallery Māksla XO, Riga / Latvia
2004 “Still Life in Latvian 20th Century Art”. Latvian National Art Museum Exhibition Hall Arsenāls, Riga / Latvia
2006 “Latvian Art. 2nd half of the 20th century”. Latvian National Art Museum Exhibition Hall Arsenāls, Riga / Latvia

Works in public collections:
Latvian National Art Museum, Riga / Latvia
Aizkraukle Bank collection for the upcoming
Latvian Contemporary Art Museum, Riga / Latvia
Latvian Academy of Sciences, Riga / Latvia
Artists’ Union of Latvia Museum, Riga / Latvia