The Collection of Works by Arbit Blatas in the Lithuanian National Museum of Art
In 2011, Lithuania received an exclusive gift of national importance – a collection of works by a prominent Lithuanian artist of Jewish origin Arbit Blatas (1908–1999). The artist’s widow, renowned opera singer and film director Mrs. Regina Resnik Blatas, bestowed this collection to the Lithuanian National Museum of Art.
The receival of such an exclusive collection and the possibility to represent it to the public, is a great honour allowing Lithuania to place itself within the centre of research and promotion of the works by Arbit Blatas.
The collection was already exhibited in Vilniusm the National Gallery of Art and in Klaipėda, the Pranas Domšaitis Gallery.
The creative path of Arbit Blatas (born Neemija Arbitblatas; 1908, Kaunas – 1999, New York) began in his homeland, Lithuania. From there he continued his studies in the art schools of Berlin, Dresden, and Munich, where the artist was surrounded by then widespread German expressionism. Later on, Blatas moved to France, Italy, and the United States. Artist’s creative maturity peaked in the surroundings of the Interwar Paris atmosphere. On the account of his extraordinary talent and originality, Blatas was associated with the younger generation of the School of Paris (École de Paris). Living in the art Mecca of the time, the painter’s expressive artistic and impressionistic styles, subtle colour selection and modelling skills flourished. Blatas was highly influenced by the principles of modern art and friendly connections with the living leading figures of modernism.
Being a person of worldly cultural aristocracy, Blatas was proud of his Lithuanian heritage, never forgetting Lithuanian language. Together with his wife Regina Resnik Blatas the artist visited his homeland in 1975 and 1988.
The collection of Blatas’s works reflects the distinct talent of this painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and set designer. It highlights all the beloved genres of the artist: impressionistic landscapes of Paris and French towns, nocturnal views of Venice; portraits of the theatre and music elite – artist’s wife Regina Resnik, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, legendary French mime Marcelio Marceau; artists of Montparnasse – Pablo Picasso, Maurice de Vlaminck, Maurice Utrillo, Giorgio de Chirico, Mané Katzo. Consequently, Blatas is justly considered to be one of the art historiographers of the 20th century. The collection is enriched by the finest works on the subjects of Bertolt Brecht's ‘The Threepenny Opera’.
A set of separate artworks is dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust victims – the composition of 7 bronze plaques titled the Holocaust Monument, expressive and dramatic canvases, drawings, and sculptures.