Ritums Ivanovs. Portrait. 2008, oil on canvas, 115 x 108 cm

Janis Zuzans 0

Interview by Agnese Čivle

Describe your artwork collection – which artists and what time periods are represented?

It is a collection of Latvian and Latvian-related artists' works (including the Russian artists S. Vinogradova, N. Bogdanova-Beļska and others). The represented time periods can be divided into three parts – 19th century to WWII, the second half of the 20th century, and the 21st century.

How do you keep and display your collection?

The collection's main home is the gallery “Mūkusalas Art Salon” in Rīga, which opened at the beginning of 2011.  The gallery's opening featured an exhibition dedicated to the Rīga Artist Group and the beginning of classic modernism in Latvia (represented authors – J. Grosvalds, V. Tone, Ģ. Eliass, O. Skulme, R. Suta, A. Beļcova and others). Whereas the next exhibition, “Ulmanis-period New Farmers” (authors – Ģ. Eliass, O. Skulme, L. Liberts, Ā, Skride, J. Strazdiņš, A. Štrāls and others), was put together as a glimpse into the processes that created the Latvian national identity in rural life of the 1920's – 1940's. These exhibitions consisted only of pieces belonging to the family's collection.

The current exhibition, “Mutants” (curator – S. Kāle, authors – K. Brekte, H. Brants, K. Vītols and others), contains pieces from the personal collection, as well as those of the associated artists. The summer months will be accompanied by the exhibition “Mūkusala's Flowers”, which will be represented by such painters as L. Āriņš, A. Artums, A. Beļcova, J. Tidemanis, V. Irbe and U. Zemzars.

Which was the very first piece of art that you acquired and can, therefore, be seen as the beginning of the collection?

That was a long time ago. The beginning of the collection could be seen as an early landscape of a bog by Edgars Vinters. Although the collection wasn't being consciously formed at that time. The first purposefully acquired piece was a painting by Indulis Zariņš. Focused searches then followed, which included calculating which artists' periods were missing and, therefore, necessary to obtain. 

Describe the searching and acquiring processes for works of art.

It could be described as a certain kind of detective work, with a certain number of “agents” involved. It is the creation of lucrative contacts that provide useful information.