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21.06.–20.08.2024 Konrad Mägi and His Peers and Olev Subbi’s Nudes

The year 2024 is dedicated to art in Hiiumaa.

In Kärdla there will be held two exhibitions from the Enn Kunila Art Collection: Konrad Mägi and His Peers in the Long House of the Hiiumaa Museum and Olev Subbi’s Nudes in the Cultural Centre of Kärdla.


At the exhibition Konrad Mägi and His Peers are displayed works by Konrad Mägi (1878–1925) and his peers, i.e. artists who were active around the same time as Mägi and had a similar life experience. They were all born in the second half of the 19th century, when the Estonian national culture was beginning to establish its course, and they evolved into the first generation of modernists, who focussed on the intrinsic values of painting, primarily colour.

They made joint efforts to develop the local art scene, but were at the same time truly open to international art. They travelled a lot, bringing back not only impressions of art, but newly discovered motifs, too. There is a closeness to nature and a yearning for harmony in their perception of life, but the more radical avant-garde trends remained quite alien and distant to them.

They were linked through personal connections ranging from close friendships to teacher-student relationships. Together, they laid the foundation for the history of Estonian painting.


At the exhibition Olev Subbi’s Nudes are displayed 6 nude paintings and a Self-Portrait of Olev Subbi (1930–2013).

Olev Subbi became a leading figure in Estonian nude painting in the 1970s. Subbi’s approach to nudes was not based on creating eroticism, but rather highlighting beauty: his nudes and their surrounding environments seem to originate from a totally harmonious parallel world. Subbi mainly sought beauty, atonement and joy in art.

He depicted his models against the background of a landscape, cityscape, or a hybrid environment where different spaces align. The painting Two Girls and the Early Summer Town hints at the artist’s studio in Liivalaia Street in Tallinn. Throughout his oeuvre we can see objects which Subbi repeatedly depicted in his works and which dated from the 1930s, the era of his ideal childhood world: a black leather armchair, a chair made in the Luther Plywood Factory, an old table, etc.

A typical element in Subbi’s paintings is a window or an arched opening in the background, through which one can see a brighter, lighter and more idyllic space. A good example is Open Window, which hung on the wall in Subbi’s studio until his death and which he refused to sell.

This is the first time that the painting Girl on the Balcony is on display in Estonia. Immediately after completion it was taken to Japan, from where it moved on to the USA; the painting returned to Estonia only a few years ago.


Exhibitions Konrad Mägi and His Peers and Olev Subbi’s Nudes are open from 21 June to 20 August 2024, every day 10–18, Thursdays 10–20.