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Aldis Plaudis

You mentioned that you’re an opera lover. Does this love for opera have some influence on your collection (besides, of course, its very first work)?

A relatively large number of excellent Latvian painters have worked on set design. Many collaborated on the creation of performances at the Latvian National Opera—Suta, Norītis, Liberts, etc. I’m interested in their works of stage design and costume sketches for remarkable productions… These drawings form a separate part of the collection; a few of the works have a place in my permanent collection.

At galleries, you can still purchase works that are very significant to opera history, whose acquisition I would definitely dedicate to our opera house, the “White House.”

What is the decisive factor in purchasing a specific work of art?

Without a doubt, the decisive factor is my personal, subjective attitude toward a work, my liking it. The second is the stimulus to fill the “empty places” in art history. An example is the Cubist manner, which lots of excellent Latvian artists tried back when this style was all the rage in Europe. I want to gather examples of works from these painters’ Cubist periods, created before they returned to their accustomed style. The proportion of these works is very small in relation to the rest of the legacy they left, so they are rare and desirable works.

What gives you with the greatest pleasure in the process of collecting art?

I’m very satisfied when I see that my collection has a very good work by a certain artist (of course, looking through my own subjective prism). For example, if I go to an auction and see that my friends, acquaintances, and peers are haggling over a certain work, but I know that my collection already has a work that is unequivocally better than this one, I’m overcome with a sense of inner peace. There is a certain please in this—this peace! But I foresee that, at the next auction, the situation could be the complete opposite: I’ll see Mr. Belēvičs behind me, purring peacefully, but I’ll fight to acquire a work by, say, G. Šenbergs...

Do you ever switch around the exhibit at your home?

Just like at a museum, my home has a permanent exhibit and a rotating exhibit. There is the family’s classic, permanent collection, which has its own place—suited to the atmosphere and functional use of the space. Yet there are also a few easels on which the displayed work of art is regularly changed.