Sunday, May 9, 2010

(Social) Realism: Latvia

Broņislavs Kondrāts (1890 - 1935)

Broņislavs Kondrāts was educated at the Riga City School of Art (1911–1913), where his major influence was Vilhelms Purvītis. His debut came late – in 1928, at the exhibition in honour of the 10th anniversary of the Latvian State, which took place at the Riga City Art Museum. Kondrāts painted in an Impressionist manner, using flamboyant, pliant strokes and shaping the volume at the same time. Contrasts of light and shade, dynamic angles, lightness, quickness and precision gave Kondrāts’s paintings a feel of vivacity. He depicted waters with harbour views, fishermen, ships, the bridges of the River Daugava.

Eduards Kalniņš (1904-1988)
Eduards Kalniņš was born on 25th October 1904 in Ķeipene Parish of the Riga district. His mother, Anna (Juliana) Kalniņa (1881-1952), was a houswwife; his father, Frīdrihs Kalniņš (1874-1952), was a tailor. For two years he studied at the Vilis Olavs School of Commerce in Riga, but in 1914 he moved to Russia together with family as refugees during the First World War. There, from 1917-1920, he studied at Tomsk High School and attended the studio of painter Yevgeny Moshkevich. He eventually returned to Riga in 1921, where he found work as a commercial painter. In 1922 he entered the Latvian Academy of Art.

After years of study, and travels to Germany, Holland and Belgium, he graduated from the Academyin 1931 with his diploma work "After the Rain". A brief period of military service in the Latvian Army was followed by a succession of exhibitions across Europe. In 1945 he was accepted in the Latvian SSR Artists' Union and for two years was a teacher at the Painting Department of the Latvian SSR State Academy of Art, before being appointed associate professor at the Painting Department in 1947.

Arvids Egle (1905 –1977)

Mihails Korņeckis (1926 - 2005)

Vilis Ozols (1929)
Vilis Ozols was born on May 3, 1929 in Latvia. He graduated from the prestigious Janis Rozentals School of Art in Riga, Latvia in 1952 and from the Painting Department of the Latvian Art Academy in 1958. In 1992, he received his master′s degree. Ozols was a professor of preparatory courses at the Academy from 1959 to 1961, senior professor of drawing from 1961 to 1989 and head of the painting department from 1989 to 1991. Ozols took part in exhibitions since 1957. Solo exhibitions were made in Dole (1982, together with I. Vecozols), Naukseni (1989), Riga (1989), Cesis and Valmiera (1989, together with S. Ozolins).

Indulis Zariņš (1929 - 1997)
Indulis Zariņš father was the owner of a pump repair shop. In 1941, Indulis and his family were deported to the Russian district of Tomsk. During his teenage years, Zariņš worked as an assistant decorator at a drama theatre in the Komi autonomous republic (1946), and then as an actor in a puppet theatre (1945-1947). He returned to Riga in 1947, graduated from the Janis Rozentāls Riga Secondary School of Art (1952) and completed his studies at the painting department of the Latvian Academy of Arts , from which he graduated in 1958 with honours.
That same year, he began working at the Academy as an arts teacher. His ebullient character and wit made him a favourite among the Academy’s students. He served as the rector of the Academy from 1988 until 1997.

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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