Jaan Vahtra is an Estonian artist, graphic artist, teacher and one of the brightest representatives of Estonian modernists.
Born into a farming family, at the age of 11 he entered the village school, and then the parish school in the city of Ryapina.
After graduating, he worked as a clerk’s assistant, a school teacher and a journalist for Viljandi magazine. Already at the age of 29, he became acquainted with the paintings of Wilhelm Purwit and firmly decided to change course.
In the same year, Jaan Vahtra went to Riga to enter the city art school, where he studied until 1913. Moreover, his teacher was Wilhelm Purwit. In parallel, Vahtra works with local magazines, where he sells paintings and cartoons.After training, he enters the drawing school of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts in St. Petersburg. At the same time, he actively manifests himself as a member of the Estonian diaspora and even becomes the editor of a magazine.
In 1916, he began teaching at St. John’s Sunday School. Shows interest in cubism and constructivism, adopting the idea of Tatlin and Kandinsky.
The training could not be completed due to mobilization, but he was able to avoid it. He joined the ranks of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and even participated in the capture of the Winter Palace.
After that he was invited to the center of Võru County as a drawing teacher. Then he taught drawing at secondary schools in Võru and Tartu. He even lectured at the Higher School of Arts.
In 1923 he became chairman of the avant-garde group of artists, which united cubists and constructivists.
Jaan Vahtra worked as a teacher until 1935, after which he left the institute. But he continued to work as an art consultant for the Young Estonia newspaper.
Online sale of paintings by Estonian artist Jaan Vahtra is in the online gallery Rios Art Gallery