Name: “Known and Unknown Uutmaa”
Exhibition Date: (13.10.2010 – 13.12.2010)
Venue: Tallinn, Roseni 8, Rotermann’s square.
Theme of Exhibition: “Richard Uutmaa and Estonian Landscape.”
Richard Uutmaa ( 12.10.1905-12. 05.1977) belongs to the generation of Estonian artists who made stress in their work upon the specific traits of Estonian landscape, representing it as a natural milieu of the people whose way of life and mentality has been formed by it. The second half of the 1930-s, when he had begun his artistic career, was a rather stormy time in the world that seemed to threaten the independance and identity of the nation and the art reacted to the general presentiments sensitively. A number of his colleagues from the art school “Pallas” could be mentioned who principally expressed the same idea of the strong connection between the Estonian people and nature: Richard Sagrits, Eerik Haamer, Johannes Võerahansu,etc. But Uutmaa differs from them by the dominating role of the landscape in his work, although he has painted the compositions, representing the everyday work of fishermen and peasants,too. Such compositions have especially been favoured by the official art policy in the 1940-s and 1950-s, during the German and Soviet occupations, but he didn’t painted them for that reason only – he was sincerely attached to the sea, the bustle in the fishing ports, the fishing villages where any kind of farming had to be done. There are few artists so devoted to his native place as Uutmaa who has painted his father’s farm Kõrve in the Altja village on the northern coast many times and the village itself with netsheds on the cape – even more. He painted other villages on the northern coast, too, in particular Eisma where he had a summer-house since 1960-s and where his daughter Tiina still lives.
Having created a real hommage to the northern coast of Estonia and the sea – his seascapes have been appreciated especially since 1950-s – , he didn’t remain indifferent to the beauty of other Estonian regions, for the spacious hilly landscape of Southern Estonia with its woods and lakes, for the islands Saaremaa and Muhu with their junipers, windmills and stone fences.
His work can be divided into several periods: 1928-35 – the studies in the High Art School “Pallas” at Tartu, 1935-40 – the period of the asserting himself, the expressing of his own lyrical attitude to the nature and the audacity of his brush; 1941-44 – the development towards the more restrained manner and the colouring, subordinated to a certain general tonality, 1945-47 – the adaptation to the new situation in the art life, many official commissions, the voyage to Armenia (1947); 1948-52 – the difficult times for all artists, the demand of a dry documentary realism; 1953-57 – the so-called thaw-time in the life of the society, the will to show his masterly realism; 1958-64 – the impressionistic period, rich in light and colour; the voyage to Carelia (1961),1965-1968 – the tendency to the great decorative generalization; 1969-77 – the increasing role of the technically equally brilliant watercolour in his work.
When Richard Uutmaa died at home in Tallinn, there was an oil-painting, representing Altja village and dated 10.05.1977, on his easel.
His works are in the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum, Rakvere Museum and other local museums of Estonia, of the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and other Russian museums.
His exhibitions have taken place in 1947 ( in the Tallinn Art Hall), in 1965 even there, in 1975 in Tallinn Art Salon (watercolours), 1980 in the Art Museum of Estonia, 2005/6 in the Museum of Adamson-Eric, 2007/8 in the Estonian National Library (watercolours, organized by the Gallery Vernissage). The present exhibition at the US Art Gallery in Tallinn is dedicated to the 105. anniversary of the great Estonian landscape painterand wishes to show his works rarely seen or unknown.