VIRTUAL EHXIBITION "LEOPOLDAS ANDRIJAUSKAS CREATIVE"
This exhibition encourages us once more to turn back and recall the artistic culture of the beginning of the 20th century, and it also introduces to us works of a proffesional painter, who, due to the historical cataclysms, is known only for a small circle of people - Leopoldas Andrijauskas. Activities and creation of other artists of that time are more or less known, and a number of people have investigated them. Far less was spoken about painters-landlords living in the provinces.
In order to make a more thorough review of the sources of the professional Lithuanian culture of the beginning of this century, we should recur to the events, facts, and personalities related with that period. Due to an unfavourable historical paradox, in the beginning of the 20th century simultaneously developing cultural and artistic life of the noblemen speaking in Lithuanian and Polish languages is divided into opposite camps. No doubt, that the standpoints of a part of people speaking a different language radically separated from the aims of the Lithuanian nationality, but in artistic meaning, especially during the first two decades of the 20th century, their creation is often close to the Lithuanian one and has common points of conjunction, as it is determined by the art traditions and artistic skills acquired in the schools of St. Petersburg, Munich, Paris. In the early 20th century the epicentre of the professional Lithuanian art was concentrated in the cities, and first of all, in Vilnius, and Kaunas. Accordingly, the creation of the artists living in the provinces (most of them belonged to the gentry) was left outside the cultural life, and till the present day it remained terra incognito. The painter of that group - Leopoldas Andrijauskas - is wider introduced in this exhibition, dedicated to commemorate his 130th birth anniversary, and in this catalogue.
The analysis of the gentry's spiritual culture is impeded by the lack of information, the archival material is scattered, taken out of Lithuania, burnt in the Soviet times during the devastation of the manors' archives. Information about Andrijauskas' personality is neither an exception.
In 1821 landlord Pranciskus Andrijauskas married a descendent of the old Zemaitija (Lowland) the Opulskiai family - Gertruda Opulskyte. Their five children - Vladimiras, Pranciskus, Engelbertas-Leopoldas, Bonaventuras and Julija - were born in the Kentreliai manor. In 1862 Engelbertas-Leopoldas married Malvina Cerniauskaite, a girl belonging to a gentry. The Andrijauskai had seven children: Leopoldas, Jokubas, Severinas, Eugenija, Jadvyga, Kristina, and Viktorija. The eldest son Leopoldas, as all noblemen's children, received primary education at home, and in 1882, when he was fifteen-year old, entered into the Mintauja real school, which he graduated in 1888. Repressive apparatus of the Tsarist regime, which apart from other evils also caused absence of university culture, stimulated young and gifted people to study abroad. Approximately in 1889-1890, Leopoldas Andrijauskas left for studies at St. Petersburg Art Academy, which he most probably did not finish, as in 1891 he continued his studies in Munich. Six years of studies in Munich made almost the greatest impact on his creation, unfortunately, there are few facts about this period of L. Andrijauskas' biography. In which educational institution he studied, what teachers and authorities formed his artistic outlook of the world is not presently known to the author. In 1897 the painter left for Paris. One may assume that at that time he was a completely developed painter, who entered into the stage of independent artistic activity. In the years 1898 and 1899, the artist organised two exhibitions in the "Independents" showroom, alas presently it is not known what pictures were exhibited there.
The other period of Leopoldas Andrijauskas' biography is the years 1898-1906, during which he most probably leaned towards the Warsaw artistic life. Known facts about this period are also minimal, but it is obviously clear that for the painter those years were overfilled with intensive exhibiting activities. In A. Kryvult's showroom in Warsaw he took part in five exhibitions: in 1990 (two exhibitions), 1901, 1902, 1906. At that time Kryvult's showroom was an opposition to the showroom of Warsaw fine arts society. It sought to popularise young talents, to exhibit sometimes even scandalous works, trends of impressionism and symbolism prevailed in their exhibitions.
Around 1906, Leopoldas Andrijauskas returned to Lithuania and settled in his father's house, in Palanga. There he painted a lot, and had some peculiar occupation - he worked as gardener in the manor of Count F. Tiskevicius. In 1907 he moved to the Kentreliai manor, and in 1910 he settled for the rest of his life in Siraiciai, where most probably his parents lived as well. Another date from scarce archival sources is 1925, when his mother died, and after the property was divided among the children, Siraiciai was inherited by Leopoldas and his brother Severinas.
Leopoldas Andrijauskas' name is also found in the periodical press of the period between the wars, in which he is introduced as one of the maecenas of the Lowlanders museum "Alka" and participator of the exhibitions in the art life of Telsiai. He died in 1947, having somehow evaded deportation to Siberia. Buried in Telsiai cemetery.
Research of the painter's works is also rather problematic, as there is no doubt that the greatest part of his works is unknown. Thirty seven paintings are in Lowlanders' museum "Alka", twenty six of which are exhibited in this exhibition. Leopoldas Andrijauskas' creation is multifarious, it cannot be placed into the frames of a single style, as it was formed by different traditions of Petersburg and Munich schools. Stylistically, his landscapes may be ascribed to the neo-impressionism trend, which is closely intervened with the outlook of Romanticism. The painter admires genuine nature, and at the same time under the scenes subtly expressed feelings, nostalgic moods are hidden, which give his works closer ties to the neo-romantics' concept "landscape is the state of soul". A separate group of Leopoldas Andrijauskas' works consists of portraits, which are painted in more academic manner. Artist's creation was not a provincial-nature phenomenon, which would not be suitable to be included into the broader context of the Lithuanian art of the first half of the 20th century, his works are closely related with other painters' works. This nobleman assented to the aims of the Lithuanian nation, he was an active creator, participator of exhibitions, culture maecenas.
Photo from the publication "Leopoldas Andrijauskas (1868-1947). Jubiliejines parodod katalogas".
1998 m., Vilnius Art Academy. Prepared by V. Scigliene.
Photo by Stase Butrimiene
© Samogitian Cultural Association Editorial Board, 2000
© Samogitian Museum ALKA, 2000
Last update 2013.01.28