Ado Vabbe (1892–1961)


Ado Vabbe was one of the most innovative artists in Estonian art from the 1910’s to the end of the 1920’s, whose name is among other things associated with the advent of futurism, cubo-futurism and expressionism. Vabbe’s abstract works are also known. Studying and working in Germany and Russia in his youth, he arrived back in Estonia in the latter half of the 1910’s, where he worked as a teacher for decades at different art schools, including Pallas. His significance in Estonian culture is founded on his avant-garde work, for which reason innovative cultural groupings maintained close contact with Vabbe until the early 1920’s.

Vabbe’s style changed in the mid-1920’s. He withdrew from active life in art and continued working as an art teacher. Henceforth he painted impressionist works inspired by natural settings. In the 1940’s, Vabbe was subjected to persecution by the Soviet regime that occupied Estonia and for some time he lived in true destitution. Beginning in the 1950’s, however, his former position was gradually restored. Regardless of this, Vabbe never became a widely and officially accepted artist during the Soviet era.