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Art Museum of Estonia 100. Creating the Self: Emancipating Woman in Estonian and Finnish Art

Art Museum of Estonia 100. Creating the Self: Emancipating Woman in Estonian and Finnish Art

Time: 06.12.19–26.04.20  10:00–18:00
Location: Kumu exhibition spaces

This is the largest exposition of artworks by Estonian female artists. It sheds light on a great deal of little-known material and establishes a dialogue with the works of Finnish female artists. The exhibition is the result of collaboration with the Ateneum Art Museum.

During the Art Museum of Estonia’s 100th year of operation, Kumu has focused on female artists. This exhibition focuses on the changes in the self-awareness and social positions of women that started in the 19th century and are echoed in the activities of female artists, as well as in the way women are depicted. Works by Julie Hagen Schwarz, Sally von Kügelgen, Karin Luts, Natalie Mei, Lydia Mei, Aino Bach, Olga Terri, Maria Wiik, Helene Schjerfbeck, Sigrid Schauman, Elga Sesemann, Ellen Thesleff, Tove Jansson, Tuulikki Pietilä and others will be on display.

Starting in the second half of the 20th century, more attention started to be paid to the works of female artists throughout the world. Prior to that, for various historical and social reasons, the works of female artists had often been viewed as secondary. Therefore, far fewer works by female artists than by men were included in art collections or exhibitions. And yet, the biographies and creative paths of many female artists confirm that women have not necessarily been the passive victims of social conditions, but have created opportunities for self-development. They have used art to express their ways of experiencing the world. By examining various themes and eras, the Kumu exhibition provides a survey of female artists’ areas of activity and the changes that occurred in their self-awareness and living environments between the mid-19th century and the 1950s.

A conference related to the exhibition titled “Female Artists in Baltic and Nordic Museums” will take place on 5 and 6 March in the Kumu Auditorium.

Curators: Tiina Abel and Anu Allas
Adviser: Anu Utriainen (Ateneum Art Museum)
Coordinators: Karin Pastak, Katja Ikäläinen and Minna Erwe
Exhibition design: b210 Architects
Graphic design of the exhibition: Aadam Kaarma
Graphic design of the book: Tuuli Aule

Our thanks to:
Tartu Art Museum, Tartu City Museum, Estonian National Museum, University of Tartu Museum, Estonian History Museum, Estonian Theatre and Music Museum, Tallinn City Museum, Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Viljandi Museum, Pärnu Museum, Haapsalu and Läänemaa Museums, Virumaa Museums, Hiiumaa Museums, Rios Gallery and Rundāle Palace Museum

The exhibition is being supported by: Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Cobalt, Kaubamaja, Tallink, Nordic Hotel Forum, Hotel Palace, Akzo Nobel Baltics and Data Print

Lydia Mei. Woman with Cigarette. 1920s. Art Museum of Estonia