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In the Waiting Room

Ado Vabbe In the Waiting Room 1944–1950 oil, plywood 44.3 × 67.5 cm

In the Waiting Room was probably completed during the war years or immediately after the war, when Ado Vabbe completed a whole series of paintings borne of the same spirit, including the namesake of this painting In the Waiting Room (50.5 x 51 cm), but also War Refugees (1944-1950), Passengers on a Ship (1946), Passenger Car Compartment (1946), At the Ticket Booth (1944-1950), and others. A certain readiness to depart and at the same time staying put and waiting glimmers through all of these works. Other paintings from that time also have similar titles, for instance People Waiting (1943) by Karin Luts, and several sketches for the triptych People Waiting by Johannes Võerahansu (1941-1942), and others. This is easy to explain on the one hand by the context of the period, since departing from the Estonian homeland or at least the wish to go abroad was common. On the other hand, here Ado Vabbe’s wish to leave the country can be seen as arising from his personal tragedy (the death of his wife, the destruction of his studio and paintings, etc.), whereas in his case this would not have meant an anonymous departure but rather a return to countries where he had lived at length in the 1910’s and 1920’s. In the mid-1940’s he painted several paintings, the titles and motifs of which originated from countries that he was thereafter never able to visit anymore (for instance Spain).