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The Progress of Images. Interpreting Estonian Art and Photography of the 19th-Century

Time: 20.09.13–12.01.14  11:00–18:00
Venue: Kumu exhibition spaces

3rd floor, B-wing

Beginning Friday, 20 September, the Kumu Art Museum invites you to the exhibition The Progress of Images. Interpreting the Estonian Art and Photography of the 19th Century. The display examines points of contact between Estonian art and photography, and the changes that took place in imaging after the emergence of photography, which took over several erstwhile functions of art. The exhibition also includes visitor and education programmes.

"In the 19th century, in Estonia, just like elsewhere in Europe, the photographic process mostly enthralled artists. The first local photographers, Georg Friedrich Schlater, August Hagen and Louis Höflinger, were well-known painters and engravers," explains the curator Tiina Abel. "The camera's way of recording the world offered new image compositions for painters, drew their attention to the principle of collage and fragments, and sparked interest in everyday life, movement and light effects."

At the exhibition, works of art and photos are placed side-by-side for the first time, with the aim of showing the important role of photography in imaging, as a recorder of life, ideological means of influence, and as a solution to artistic problems. Next to paintings and prints, the display includes original photos by the outstanding professionals of Estonian photography in its early years: Charles Borchardt, Carl Schulz, Reinhold Sachker, Heinrich Tiidermann, Johannes Pääsuke and others.

The material that you will find in the exhibition halls is rarely displayed; it includes works of art used for scientific and educational purposes, unique daguerrotypes, and huge painted backgrounds from photo studios. The whole can be viewed as a collection of image fragments, containing works by the classics of Estonian art (Johann Köler, Oskar Hoffmann, Ants Laikmaa, Paul Raud et al.), as well as by more marginal characters.

The works of art and rare photos shown at the exhibition come from collections of: the Art Museum of Estonia, Estonian History Museum, Latvian National Museum of Art, Latvian Literature and Music Museum, Tallinn City Museum, Photo Museum, Tartu Art Museum, University of Tartu Art Museum, University of Tartu History Museum, Estonian National Museum, University of Tartu Library, Cultural History Archives of the Estonian Literary Museum, Estonian Historical Archives, Järva County Museum, Valga Museum and private collectors.

An illustrated catalogue on the exhibition will be published soon.
The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Akzo Nobel Baltics AS.

The exhibition The Progress of Images. Interpreting the Estonian Art and Photography of the 19th Century will remain open at the Kumu Art Museum until 12 January 2014.