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Landscape with a Windmill

Elmar Kits Landscape with a Windmill 1959 oil, canvas 55.9 × 73 cm

In the mid-1950s, the nearly 10-year period of creative crisis in Kits’s oeuvre began to subside. The onset of the Soviet occupation had meant stricter rules for art, and Kits’s renowned freedom of painting had been curbed. This painting is one of the rare examples of rediscovered joy. It looks like Kits was allowed – surprisingly – to enter the restricted border zone of Saaremaa, the island that painters had been increasingly fascinated by before World War II. Hence, his choice of motif could be regarded as a continuation of the painting traditions of the Pallas Art School: despite the fact that the Soviet regime favoured industrial motifs, Kits decided to choose an archaic windmill. Kits’s delight in colour is remarkable. His brushwork is improvisational, which is characteristic of his style, adding a plethora of new shades to the dominant dark green of the intervening years. The light-coloured sky provides for an overall optimistic tonality, but on the other hand it functions as a backdrop that highlights the colour abundance of the landscape even further.