Linda Kits-Mägi (1916—1990)
Linda Kits-Mägi completed her studies at Pallas in 1943 but did not earn broader recognition until her major solo exhibition that was held 17 years later. She was one of the few female artists who had completed that school and had also made it as an artist. It is perhaps interesting to note that even though the “Pallas style” can be associated primarily with so called “soft values”, the artists of this style were nevertheless primarily men. True enough, women did study at Pallas – and surprisingly many, yet most of them disappeared between the walls of the home after finishing school and they did not develop into artists who publicly presented their works.
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144.5 x 191.5 cm
Linda Kits-Mägi had completed her studies at Pallas in 1943 as Ado Vabbe’s student and had started participating in exhibitions three years earlier. Her earlier creative work did not attract particular attention and she became more a topic of discussion in association with her solo exhibition held in 1960 at the Tartu State Museum of Art. Garden was on display at that exhibition and had earned the particular attention of critics. Virve Hinnov wrote in the periodical Kunst nr. 1/1961: “Linda Kits-Mägi applies her capabilities in landscape painting on large canvases as well. Garden (1958), Valgemetsa Landscape (1959) and Tartu with a View of the Emajõgi River (1960) were on display at her solo exhibition as the best of them. All these works express exuberant cheerfulness, optimism and the radiant beauty of nature. In Garden, people strolling and bustling among the trees complement its nature motif. People also liven up the motif in Tartu with a View of the Emajõgi River. The works are painted with an abundance of air and light in the style of impressionist atmosphere painting.”
Evi Pihlak wrote in the foreword of the republic-wide art exhibition held in 1959 and dedicated to the 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU): “With their temperamental picturesque realisation and vivid sense of colour, her works reflect the lively sense of nature and lust for life characteristic of many of our contemporary people. Since this artist knows how to often organically tie human figures in with her landscapes (Garden), this increases the lifelike quality of her works even further.”
The direct exhibition criticism of that time also directed separate attention to Garden. Mai Lumiste wrote in the cultural weekly newspaper Sirp ja Vasar (Sickle and Hammer): “Linda Kits-Mägi’s landscapes based on sincere perception of nature and her skill for attentive observation acquired a more independent sense of expression at the very end of the 1950’s. The intense life of nature can be perceived in the fresh green of early summer and the intense blue sky of Garden. Bright sunshine and dark shadows create a picturesque contrast, simultaneously allowing the use of fine relationships between tones.”
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62.5 x 75.0 cm
Linda Kits-Mägi was Elmar Kits’s wife and had graduated from the Pallas Art School. She was one of the few female artists from the Pallas school who continued to paint after finishing school. This work completed in 1961 is characteristic of Kits-Mägi. She often painted still-lifes with flowers and as a rule, she placed vivid and multicoloured flowers in front of a relatively neutral background, which helped to emphasise the colouring of the flowers even more. As a surprising detail, Kits-Mägi has signed her work with large lettering along the upper edge of the painting, as if emphasising her personal relationship with the motif that was being depicted.