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Linda Kits-Mägi Garden 1958 Oil on canvas 144.5 × 191.5 cm

Linda Kits-Mägi had completed her studies at Pallas Art School 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.”

Art historian 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.”