President of the Republic of Lithuania President of the Republic of Lithuania

Artworks by Lithuanian symbolists at the Musée d'Orsay


Monday, April 9, Vilnius President Dalia Grybauskaitė together with French President Emmanuel Macron, First Lady Brigitte Macron and the Presidents of France, Estonia and Latvia opened the exhibition "Wild Souls. Symbolism in the Baltic States" at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. 

This exhibition, celebrating the centennials of statehood of the three Baltic countries and held under the patronage of four presidents, presents the works – paintings, black-and-whites, sculptures – by Baltic artists from the 1890s to the end of the 1920s clearly influenced by French symbolism.

According to the President, Lithuania - with its one-thousand-year historical and cultural timeline - has been an integral part of the European civilization and the European mind for many centuries. The Baltic heritage is permeated with European traditions, while the Baltic nations have added their distinct identity to the European cultural landscape.  

The President underlined the great symbolic importance of the centennial anniversary of restored national statehood. Many of our artists drew the spirit of freedom in the capital of European culture and arts, Paris. Eighty years ago Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia presented their arts in a joint pavilion at the Paris World Exhibition in 1937. Now we are back.

Half of the exhibits from Lithuania at the Musée d'Orsay are works by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, including “Rex”, “Creation of the World” and series of paintings “Sonata of the Sea, “Fairy Tale”, “Sorrow”, and others. Paintings by Petras Kalpokas, Antanas Žmuidzinavičius, Antanas Vivulskis, Adomas Varnas, Ferdinandas Ruščicas, and Boleslovas Buika are also on display together with sculptures by Petras Rimša and Vivulskis, as well as the cover and illustrations of the book “Lietuvių kryžiai. Croix Lithuaniennes” by Antanas Jaroševičius.

The exhibits were selected from the Lithuanian Art Museum in Vilnius and M.K.Čiurlionis Art Museum in Kaunas. Both museums are co-organizers of the exhibition together with the Art Museum of Estonia and the Latvian National Museum of Art. Among the other displays are objects of art from libraries and private collections.

All exhibits are covered by insurance. Of these, “Rex” by Čiurlionis has the highest insurance: one million euros.

The Musée d'Orsay in Paris is one of the most internationally renowned museums, which annually attracts some three million visitors from all over the world. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces. 

Cultural ties between Lithuania and France have been developing very rapidly over the last decades. They include intensive cultural exchanges as well as close cooperation in the fields of theater, music, cinema, and fine arts.

French President Emmanuel Macron, First Lady Brigitte Macron, Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen, and high-ranking Paris municipal officials attended the opening of the exhibition.

A special documentary will be broadcast by the Arte television channel, an international scientific conference on Baltic and European symbolism will be held, and a round-table will be organized within the framework of cultural events timed to the exhibition. Concerts of Baltic music will be staged at the Musée d'Orsay auditorium.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2018.04.09 18:43