New page in Kaunas art history – book about artist Elena Jakutytė 1

Rasa Andriušytė, 2014-02-17
Elena with the Shrove Tuesday mask created by her

Budrytė-Genevičė, Kristina (compiler). Elena Jakutytė. 1911-1999: Perception and Harmony of Graphic World. Kaunas: Lithuanian Artists’ Association, Kaunas Branch, 2013. Artist Milda Kairaitienė.

In brief: The number of art research books about Kaunas artists increased lately. The study of Violeta Krištopaitytė about the painter Jonas Vaitys was published recently. Several years ago Miglė Banytė and Vaiva Laukaitienė published a book about the sculptor Juozas Zikaras. The gallery Meno Parkas and Arvydas Žalpys also prepare catalogues of exhibitions as well as thick albums with more or less successful textual inclusions. The newest albums of Meno Parkas are about the group of painters 24 and artist Jonas Gasiūnas, which are worth to be analysed in a separate discussion. The publication-study dedicated to the artist and teacher Elena Jakutytė (1911-1999), who has left a bright trace in the memory of the art school pupils and artists of the city, was presented at the beginning of this year.

It is most probably possible to speak about a phenomenon important to the city culture already: a group of young art critics has appeared in Kaunas already which is capable to research Kaunas art history in a rather interesting and thorough manner. Many interesting personalities lived in Kaunas in the second half of the twentieth century who were not valued then and who have become forgotten now. These are the set designer Liudas Truikys, textile artist and painter Zenonas Varnauskas, sculptors Robertas Antinis, Jadvyga Klemkienė, Natalija Luščinaitė-Krinickienė, painters Antanas Martinaitis, Valerija Ostrauskienė, graphic artists Algirdas Pakeliūnas, Vytautas Klemka, and others. Their works granted important impulses to the development of Lithuanian art, but not much is known about it. This is why monographs and albums are necessary.

The compiler and author of texts of the book Elena Jakutytė. 1911-1999:Perception and Harmony of Graphic World is the art critic Kristina Budrytė-Genevičė. She defended her doctor’s thesis on abstract painting in Soviet Lithuania (supervisor Dr. Rasa Žukienė) in 2008. Now the art critic is engaged in research of Soviet Kaunas artists’ works.

The heroine of the newest book of Budrytės-Genevičė is the modest and wise artist, teacher of Kaunas Art Gymnasium, graphic artist Elena Jakutytė. The idea of this publication belongs to the former students of Elena Jakutytė, mature artists now – graphic artist Edmundas Saladžius, architect Vidmantas Miliūnas, museologist Stanislovas Urbonas.

Still, the biggest work was done by Kristina Budrytė-Genevičė. She told about the personality and artistic heritage of the artist and revealed the picture of life of the Lithuanian intellectual family and its tragic break.

Elena Jakutytė. Dragon. 1966. Paper, mixed technique, 66,5 x 53,5 cm, Lithuanian Museum of Art

Kristina Budrytė-Genevičė collected factual data from archives, spoke with friends of the artist and established relations with her relatives in Australia. The road of the artist’s life was restored on the basis of the collected facts. The story presented by Genevičė is consistent, chronological, there is almost no space for wide interpretations in it. The art critic reviewed the entire creative heritage accurately and highlighted the most important works by the more detailed analysis: the triptych “St. John’s Feast”, cycle “Masks” and the compositions with St. George loved by the artist.

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