Indrek Hirv's art collection
The art collection of Indrek Hirv consists of works by artists who continued the spirit of art from before the Soviet occupation. Many of them were persecuted, and later they did not obtain official recognition. Some became reformers of art, who resisted the Soviet discourse and Socialist Realism. Although some works in this collection depicted directly forbidden subject matter, like prison camps and prisoners, resistance to the Soviet regime is expressed mostly through the style.
Tartu , Estonia undefined
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Name of collection
- Indrek Hirv's art collection
Provenance and cultural activities
Indrek Hirv, the owner of the collection, inherited it from his parents after their deaths in 1977. He did not buy or collect any additional works himself. Older works in the collection are from the 1930s, the last items are from the time before the death of Hirv's parents. The collection consists of paintings, drawings, sketches and bookplates, by artists such as Elmar Kits, Henn Roode, Lagle Israel, Heldur Viires, Richard Kaljo and Ülo Sooster, and also by Hirv’s parents Helgi Hirv and Louis Pavel. Many of these artists have in common their resistance to the Soviet regime and the Soviet style of art. Some of them were also persecuted.
Artists who belonged to the circle of Indrek Hirv's parents were mostly critical of the system. They had studied at the Pallas Higher Art School in Tartu before the Soviet occupation, or they were taught by artists who had studied there. Some of them were called up into German armed units during the Second World War, and some tried to emigrate. In 1949, Ülo Sooster, Heldur Viires, Henn Roode and some other artists were arrested and sent to prison camp. Louis Pavel, the father of Indrek Hirv, had been in a prisoner camp since 1944. After their release and return to Estonia, this circle talked with each other openly about the occupation and Estonian history. They opposed the Soviet style of art and the Soviet discourse. Indrek Hirv emphasises the importance of colour: they used bright colours, in opposition to the brown which came from Russia.
Since the collection grew mainly through gifts by other artists to the parents of Indrek Hirv, these works are not well known by the public. Therefore, they have a low public profile. With the collection now owned by Indrek Hirv, it is not accessible to the public. Only a few people know about the collection.
Description of content
The collection consists of over 50 paintings, sketches and drawings, by different artists, such as Elmar Kits, Henn Roode, Lagle Israel, Heldur Viires, Louis Pavel, Helgi Hirv, Richard Kaljo and Ülo Sooster. Many of them were in conflict with the Soviet regime, some were directly persecuted, and some expressed their resistance in their choice of technique, colour and theme.
- graphics: 10-99
- paintings: 10-99
Place of founding
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Important events in the history of the collection
- all closed to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Kuusik , Külli
Allas, Anu, ed. 2015. Kunstirevolutsioon 1966 = Art revolution 1966. Tallinn: Eesti Kunstimuuseum.
Hirv, Indrek. 2016. Tartust Pariisi ja tagasi. Rännakutest, kunstist ja möödanikust [From Tartu to Paris and back. About journeys, art, and past]. Tallinn: Go Group.
Talvistu, Enriko, ed. 1994. Elmar Kitse fenomen 1913-1972: näitus Tartu Kunstimuuseumis, 2. märts -20. mai 1994: kataloog = Phenomenon of Elmar Kits: exhibition in the Tartu Art Museum, March 2nd - May 20th, 1994: catalogue. Tartu: Tartu Kunstimuuseum.
Hirv, Indrek, interview by Kuusik , Külli , May 24, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection