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Latvian Art Classic

Collection of Dr. Guntis Belēvičs

From first pages of catalogue...

The invitation to show my collection at the Latvian National Museum of Art came as a great honour. In order to prepare the collection for presentation, I enlisted the help of art historian, Anita Vanaga. Together we decided to introduce the general public first to the works of art whose authors are no longer with us. For that reason the word "classic" features in the title of the exhibition, which took a full two years to mount. We chose two additional principles to help us select works for the exhibition, whose catalogue you now hold in your hands: the principle of Quality – Do we consider this particular work a true pearl? and the principle of Chronology – Does this pearl truly represent its age and the concurrent developments in Latvian art? Now, this approach, of stringing only true pearls on the Latvian art timeline, has become the foundation for the continued development of the collection.

People often ask me why I am collecting Latvian art in particular. The answer is simple: because I am a Latvian, and because, in my opinion, Latvians can boast an extraordinary number of outstanding artists.

How does one recognise pearls? I will illustrate with an example from my other favourite pastime – deer breeding. I divide deer into five categories: the fifth is "bad"; fourth – "not bad"; third – "good"; second – "excellent"; and first – "unbelievable". If you find yourself looking at a single deer, you are amazed by what nature has created. However, should another deer happen to stand next to the first, it would immediately become clear, which of the two is superior. In a similar way we can also evaluate works of art – by placing one next to another.

Guntis Belēvičs, Dr. Biol.