UT ART MUSEUM PRESENTED CATALOGUE OF UNIVERSITY ART COLLECTION HELD AT VORONEZH, RUSSIA
The catalogue tells the story of the University of Tartu art collection that was taken to Voronezh, Russia during World War I.
The catalogue lists a total of 508 items of Egyptian antiquities, ancient ceramics and sculptures and XV-XIX century European paintings. It is published as a trilingual edition in Estonian, Russian and English. It is the first reference book to present to the public a wealth of so far unpublished works of art which provide an overview of UT’s valuable collection held at the I. Kramskoy Art Museum of the Voronezh Region of the Russian Federation.
The presentation ceremony included addresses by Professor Jaak Aaviksoo, UT Rector; Dr Raivo Palmaru, Estonian Minister for Culture; Ms Laine Jänes, Mayor of Tartu and Mr Ivan Obrastsov, Head of the Department of Culture of the Voronezh Region.
The book was designed by Tiina Viirelaid and published by “Ilmamaa” publishers. Publication was funded by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Estonian Ministry for Culture, the Russian Federal Ministry of Culture and the University of Tartu.
UT art collections were taken to Voronezh, Russia during World War I when, faced with nearing frontlines, the University was forced to transfer its collections to the Russian heartland. Although the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty concluded between Estonia and Russia specifically provided for the return of the University’s property, in reality only the Graphic Sheets part of the UT art collection found its way back to Tartu. The matter of returning the remaining bulk of the collection was brought up again in 1988, when the Council of Ministers of the Estonian SSR addressed a respective request to the Council of Ministers of the Russian Federal Republic. A joint intergovernmental commission was set up and a series of various agreements and cooperation protocols regarding restitution of objects of cultural value unlawfully transferred to the territory of the other State party were signed between Estonia and Russia in the beginning of the 1990s, yet UT collection still remains in Voronezh.
”The newly completed catalogue is not a substitute for the real collection and will not lay to rest the subject of its restitution to the rightful owner,” UT Art Museum Director and the catalogue’s editor Ms Inge Kukk said. “The catalogue book is first and foremost a work of reference that for the first time shows by way of photographs and descriptions the art collection that had been built up at the University of Tartu and testifies to the important role that was played in building up this collection by donations from the local nobility, University professors and renowned UT scientists”.
The authors intend to continue their work and publish a second catalogue itemising the UT collection of 6000 coins and medals also held at Voronezh.
Additional information: Ms Inge Kukk, Director of UT Art Museum, tel. +372 737 5385, +372 520 9484
Senior Specialist for Public Relations,
UT Public Relations and Information Unit