From 2 November 2017 to 31 January 2018 the Mūkusala Art Salon will present Jānis Ferdinands Tīdemanis' (1897–1964) anniversary exhibition MAESTRO GRANDIOSO. Jānis Ferdinands Tīdemanis 120. It will include the artist's works from the Zuzāns Collection, Latvian National Museum of Art and private collections.
Tīdemanis was born in Ventspils and acquired artistic education in Belgium, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (1922–1927) and (intermittently from 1927 to 1934) Antwerp Higher Institute of Art, where he studied portrait, figurative and genre painting. In 1936 the artist returned to Latvia, emigrating to Switzerland in 1944 and four years later to Canada, where he remained till the end of his life.
Visiting Latvia during his studies in Belgium at the turn of the 1920-30s, Tīdemanis impressed the local public with painterly vitality that imaginatively brought together brave modernism with the experience of the Belgian expressionists and the traditions of the old masters. It was a painting which differed from the currents of the new objectivity which dominated in Latvian art at the time.
Referred to as the "Belgian" of Latvia, Tīdemanis is known for his relaxed, temperamental brushstroke, strong colour contrasts, variations in texture and deformation of volumes. The artist worked in different genres, painting portraits, everyday scenes with grotesque elements, nudes, landscapes and still lifes. He was among the first in Latvian art to turn to the subjects of sport and the modern city and can be considered an innovator in the depiction of large masses of people.
Among Tīdemanis' favourite motifs were harbour scenes, rich carnivals, night views of cities with streets glistening in lamplight and lit shop windows. The artist also worked in the techniques of etching, watercolour and drawing.
The retrospective on both floors of the Mūkusala Art Salon will include works in the artist's most typical genres and from different periods of his career. The exhibition's title MAESTRO GRANDIOSO highlights Tīdemanis' legendary, extravagant personality, which on many occasions has served as an inspiration for literary characters to writers, poets and playwrights.
The exhibition will be supplemented by documentary materials on Tīdemanis' life, as well a fragment from late-1950s Dailonis Stauvers' (USA) film about 14 Latvian emigre artists On Paintings and Painters.
A book about Jānis Ferdinands Tīdemanis from the Neputns Publishers' series Classics of Latvian Art will accompany the exhibition.
Exhibition curator and author of the book Ingūna Ģēģere.
Jānis Ferdinands Tīdemanis. Carnival. Late 1930s. Oil on canvas. 81 x 100 cm. Photo: Normunds Brasliņš