The Estonian House in Stockholm donated four iconic works of Estonian art history to the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia, which would otherwise have been sold at the Vernissage gallery auction, if the original owner's gift contract from 1990 had not come out a few days earlier.
Taave Sööt Vahermägi, the managing director of the Estonian House in Stockholm, said that starting from 2022 they decided to focus their art collection on foreign Estonian art. Therefore, the Estonian House planned to sell a few pieces and chose Vernissage gallery that hosts a spring auction in Tallinn in May as their partner.
"At the request of the Vernissage gallery, we searched our archives for additional artwork-related information prior to the auction. Lisette Steinman, the former owner of the four auctioned pieces, donated them to the Estonian House in Stockholm in 1990, with the instruction that they be transferred to the Estonian Art Museum if the Estonian House deems it appropriate," she explained.
As a result, the Estonian House in Stockholm asked the art gallery to halt the sale of the paintings just two days prior to the auction, so that they could be transferred to the collection of the Art Museum of Estonia, per Steinman's instructions.
Among the four works are the oil paintings "Woman with a Mask" (late 1930s) and "Woman with a Blue Bouquet" (1940-44) by Johannes Greenberg, Ants Laikmaa's pastel "Portrait of a Mulatto Boy" (1919), and Kristjan Raud's mixed-media work "The Sons of Kalev on the Hunt" (circa 1927-28).
Sirje Helme, a member of the board of the Art Museum of Estonia, said that these are significant pieces of Estonian art history that will receive a place of honor at the museum.
"Kristjan Raud, Ants Laikmaa, and Johannes Greenberg are invaluable and distinguished figures in the Estonian art history. The Art Museum of Estonia is delighted to receive these pieces from the estate of Lisette Steinman. They will enrich and complement the museum's 20th century collection," added Helme.
"In the future, we are planning to present all of these works in both permanent and thematic exhibitions, bringing art enthusiasts and visitors much joy and excitement."
Editor: Kristina Kersa