The Saulė Kisarauskienė collection contains documents relating to the life and work of the Lithuanian painter Saulė Kisarauskienė, her family, and her husband, the famous artist and nonconformist painter Vincas Kisarauskas. She is a well-known representative of the Lithuanian school of exlibris, and the collection contains originals of her works. During Soviet times, Saulė Kisarauskienė adhered to the principles of her creative vision and free thinking, and was marginalised for this in the 1960s by the Soviet regime.
10102 Vilnius O. Milašiaus gatvė 19 , Lithuania
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Name of collection
- Saulė Kisarauskienė collection.
Provenance and cultural activities
Saulė Kisarauskienė is well known not only as a painter, but also as graphic artist and book illustrator. In 1963, her illustrations to Autoportretas. Aviaeskizai (1962) by Eduardas Mieželaitis were accused of formalism by Antanas Barkauskas, the secretary for ideology of the Communist Party, and the main newspaper (Pravda) printed a critical review of her. She and her husband were seen as adherents of formalism in Soviet Lithuanian art. Afterwards, due to the influence of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, for approximately ten years she could not take on any illustration work or book design. There were attempts by censors and government institutions to marginalise her. Saule Kisarauskienė recalls the situation 'when the artist is immediately condemned, all doors were closed, and you became unwanted by anyone. This tactic of creative isolation was quite painful for the artist, because it affected not only the freedom to create and express yourself, but also your material livehood.' The accusations of formalism (формалистические выверты) by Party structures, the KGB and some colleagues, and her official isolation, led to Kisarauskienė never becoming a mainstream artist in the Soviet era enjoying good relations with the establishment. Her activities were limited, but by expressing her cultural opposition, she did not choose a conformist path, and pursued a more liberal form of expression, constantly experimenting, unlike artists who sought influence. Like her husband Vincas Kisarauskas, Saulė Kisarauskienė also joined the Lithuanian school of ex libris, and used opportunities to present her art. She enjoyed respect from other artists and art experts for her position, but she shared her views and experience during the Soviet era mainly in an informal circle of like-minded colleagues. After her husband died and the Soviet Union collapsed, Kisarauskienė participated actively in various exhibitions and other events, presenting her work and the legacy of her husband, showing the development of the nonconformist art that emerged in the Soviet era to a wider audience, and constantly being interviewed by art specialists and scholars who were interested in nonconformist art in totalitarian conditions.
The collection was formed at the initiative of Saulė Kisarauskienė and her husband Vincas Kisarauskas in 1972, who decided to give their documents to the archive. At that time, various artists (even those who did not enjoy good relations with the Party) had an opportunity to officially archive their documents. After this, she and her family periodically gave her documents to archive at various times.
Description of content
The collection includes most of her creative work, correspondence, writings and photographs. The extensive collection includes material that she produced and collected over her life. It includes prints, exlibris, graphic works, catalogues of exhibitions, articles, biographical documents, correspondence, photographs, and articles for books.
- graphics: 10-99
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 10-99
- other artworks (that cannot be classified by other filter categories such as paintings, sculptures, graphics, etc.): 10-99
- photos: 10-99
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Vilnius, Oskaro Milašiaus gatvė 19, Lithuania
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- parts are closed to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Ivanauskas, Vilius
Žemaitytė, Rūta , interview by Ivanauskas, Vilius, Grybkauskas, Saulius, August 04, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection