Friday, February 2, 2024

Lithuanian Art


In May of 2001 I traveled to Lithuanian, by myself, a three-day excursion which was part of a bigger trip to Germany with my friend Martie Anderson. Martie has family in Germany and we stayed with them a few days in Bremen before they put me on a train to Berlin. There I boarded a flight to Vilnius, Lithuanian, the beginning of a lifelong dream to visit the homeland of my father's father's family. I was hoping to find information about my Lithuanian relatives but I was ill prepared and didn't realize our last name, Uknavage, is Juknevicius in Lithuania and a very common name! At least I learned that much.

I made good use of my time and I could write page after page about my experiences there but this blog is about four small pieces of art I bought at an outdoor sale in the Old Town part of Vilnius. These are called miniatures for they only measure about 3" x 4", slightly larger with the frame. I actually purchased two more pieces, one much larger, but gave them as gifts to family members upon my return home. Because I don't speak a word of the Lithuanian language I didn't converse with the sellers, didn't ask about the artists, probably needed help with the money exchange. I chose pieces I liked and ones small enough to fit into my suitcase. 

After I returned home I stored these pieces of artwork rather than display them and only recently, almost 23 years after buying them, really studied them. They were signed by the artists, and with the help of google and google lens I tried to find out more about them. 




The first one was easy for I could easily read the artist's signature. I was excited to find she has a facebook presence and is a prolific, very talented artist today. This miniature is a night scene and measures approximately 4" square. The artist is Tatjana Chechun. Her more recent art is bright, full of energy, gorgeous flowers, cats, dogs, and still lifes. My photo of this art does not do it justice and my cropping didn't help either. Bob and I both love night scenes and he has explained to me how difficult they are to paint. I think that is one reason I chose this painting. The artist wrote to say this is titled "Literatu Street. Night"

The next three miniatures are by the same artist. Although he signed the back of each piece and included the name of the location there in Vilnius I could not read the handwriting and Lithuanian spelling well enough to identify him, but with the help of several people on my favorite Lithuanian genealogy facebook group I now know he is Alvydas GoŇ°tautas, an artist who has also changed his style, now most of his work is abstract, large amazing pieces of art. I prefer these early etchings to abstract art but that's just me. He is on facebook, instagram, and other websites.

I read this on a Lithuanian website about his early work. "In 1991 created the cycle “Vilnius” (10 etchings with aquatint).
In 1991 held a group exhibition in Krakow (etching cycle).
In 1993 held a group exhibition in Chicago (drawings of Vilnius)"







I would love to find a display of all 10 of those etchings GoŇ°tautas created in 1991 named "Vilnius". In the meantime I am very happy to have these miniatures.