Author: Valeška Adolfas, 1905 - 1994
Material / technique: oil on canvas.
Dimensions: 71x70 cm.
Signature: 1932 m. kovo m. 29 d. / A. Valeška ( in the back side of the painting, top-right under the frame).
The Portrait of a Young Man with a Hat (1932) by Adolfas Valeška (1905–1994) continues the thread of cultural figures depicted by artists. One such figure, Juozas Keliuotis, is the young man depicted in the painting. At the time both the artist and Keliuotis took an active part in the cultural life of Lithuania, were close friends and thought alike. At the time, modern art was gaining momentum and closely interacted with the avant-garde press. In the 1930s, pupils of Kaunas School of Art were influenced by local movements of avant-garde artists such as Keturvėjininkai (a group of Lithuanian avant-garde writers) and Trečiafrontininkai (a group of Lithuanian writers and critics), yet only the publications of Naujoji Romuva (culture, literature and art magazine) made a real contribution to the cultural scene of Lithuania. Valeška actively participated in art exhibitions at that time and in 1934 staged a solo exhibition in Kaunas. He combined his creative and cultural activities with administrative work. Valeška was the initiator of the Ecclesiastical Art Museum and was the head of the museum in 1935–1940.
At the time when the portrait was painted, Keliuotis was the publisher and editor of Naujoji Romuva. ‘The publication was closely related to the activities of the Association of Independent Artists. Valeška, who was the chairman of the Association, and Keliuotis were friends, they shared their world views and had common perceptions on the aim of art.’[i] Although the portrait has the features of a representative genre, there is no feeling that the painter is restricted by the artist-client relationship typical of such commissioned work and which is often reflected in the work. The painting is full of warmth, sensitivity, and exhibits a free and unrestricted manner of painting. Keliuotis is immortalised as an intellectual thinker who firmly believes in the ideas of inter-war European art ideology.
Reference: Description of the "Meetings" exhibition. - M. K.Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas.
Exhibitions: Exhibition of the dr. J. Gumbis art collection “Meetings”, 2015 July 3 – September 6, M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas.