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Seashore in Saaremaa

Konrad Mägi Seashore in Saaremaa 1913–1914 Oil on cardboard 47.7 × 64.3 cm

This is Konrad Mägi’s only known seascape. Although Mägi painted the sea and bodies of water repeatedly and as a matter of fact, it is even a little bit difficult to find landscape views in his later works where there is not at least a little lakelet, they were never the main characters of his paintings. Here the sea is the main character. The composition is flat and open. It is divided up only by a few rocks, the rhythm of the waves, and clouds with indistinct shapes. Yet it is nevertheless difficult to count this work narrowly as a seascape since the artist has not tried to expand upon what is characteristic of the sea, rather he has focused on colours. The water surface painted primarily in greenish tones, but also including bluish and white tones, is not conveyed as flowing waves, but rather by way of short brushstrokes that do not replicate reality, but rather create a new rhythm within the painting. The painting does not begin before the painting, rather it only begins within the painting itself – the rules that Mägi establishes apply only in his work and not beyond it. As such, the work approaches a modernistic work of art, where the number of elements that still keep the painting attached to reality by way of its umbilical cord have been reduced almost to the minimum. Remove the rocks, the foam of the water waves, and a few clouds from this painting and an abstract work of colours would be before us.