Drawings of Antanas Gudaitis (1904 – 1989) 0

Aušra Vasiliauskienė
www.kamane.lt, 2014-12-30

The drawing shows the entire man: he is naked here, like my “Son Libertine”

A. Gudaitis, from conversations of T. Sakalauskas with the artist

In brief: The 110th birth anniversary of the artist Antanas Gudaitis (1904 – 1989) is marked this year. A.Gudaitis titled as a representative of lyrical expressionism is known to the public as a painter in whose works the French rationalism and Lithuanian sensitivity unite. On the occasion of the anniversary the exhibition “People Looking at the Stars” was organised at the National M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum, in which drawings of the artist stored in the museum funds were presented.

On the basis of the exhibition, the author reminds of exceptional works of A. Gudaitis – drawings – again.


A.Gudaitis studied at Paris State Higher School of Decorative and Applied Arts in 1929 – 1933. The artist arrived here after he was expelled from Kaunas Art School after the students’ strike. In Paris the artist felt that he lacked drawing skills and started attending Collarossi Academy and other private studios.

The stylistic and thematic touch of works created in 1930-1932 is rather diverse. The influence of neoclassicism, expressionism, art deco reflects in works of A. Gudaitis created in this period. Thematically the theme of the woman, motherhood dominates. The artist drew many nudes, portraits as well as thematic compositions popular in the interwar period that reflected the aim of Ars group artists to relate modern art tendencies with folk art interpretations. A. Gudaitis is the initiator of the famous Ars group, participant of exhibitions organised by it.

In the interwar period the artist also created needle-point prints, which is close to contour drawing in ink. His interest in graphic arts was encouraged by his admiration of Rembrant.

Another part of works displayed in the exhibition were created in the 7th-8th decade of the 20th century. These are portraits, thematic philosophical, seaside life and even grotesque compositions. A large part of drawings are sketches for paintings repeated many times but they function as independent artworks. In this period A. Gudaitis returns to some interwar plots fragmentarily.

"Acrobat". 1973. NČDM. Photo by R.Ropytė

The metaphorical motif of a bird occupies an important place in works of the artist of the second part of the 8th decade. The bird may be seen along with people at the table or it is compared with a self-portrait. One of the possible interpretations of this motif is the auto-ironic look of the artist to oneself.

The works of A. Gudaitis are incredibly diverse, they have many meanings and aesthetical layers and they cannot and need not be placed in narrow interpretational frames. The artist’s works are open to the look and thoughts of the viewer and researcher.

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