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Läänemaa Motif

Johannes Võerahansu Läänemaa Motif 1930s oil, canvas 100 × 120 cm

The place where Johannes Võerahansu spent his formative years was in central Estonia but for some reason, western Estonia, especially Saaremaa, began captivating him starting in the 1930s. Alongside his teacher Ants Laikmaa, Võerahansu became the second artist to interpret Lääne County to a significant extent by artistic means. The scant, spartan, not particularly fertile landscape matched up well with Võerahansu’s approaches to form: his brownish-green tones convey and at the same time create the image of western Estonia as a place where contact between man and nature is a metaphor for man’s grit. The painting’s format merits particular attention. The format of Estonian painting became considerably larger in general in the 1930s than it had been in preceding decades, and Võerahansu used the additional space first and foremost for conveying openness and an abundance of air. Thereby man becomes even tinier in the painting and his attempts to survive in spite of everything gain what is already an existential dimension.