Riga This Week - FREE RIGA CITY GUIDE made by locals since 1992

Nicholas Roerich and Latvia

The name of Nicholas Roerich (1874–1947), his creative oeuvre and social activism is famous throughout the whole world. His life at various stages was linked with several countries – with Russia, the USA, India and others. A particular place in the story of his life belongs to Latvia. The aim of this exhibition is to show the connection between a distinguished Russian artist and the country of his forefathers. Works of art, publications and archive documents from the Latvian National Museum of Art, Liepāja Museum, Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, National Library of Latvia, the archives of the Latvian Roerich Society and the Latvian State Historical Archives present an opportunity to reveal this connection from a number of aspects. The exhibition was arranged in cooperation with the Latvian Roerich Society and consists of four parts: The Roerich Family in Latvia, In St. Petersburg: Fellow Students and Pupils, The Latvian Roerich Society and A Collection of Works by Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich.

In addition to works by Nicholas Roerich, on display at the exhibition there are also examples of paintings and graphic art works by Latvian artists. As known, Roerich is linked with Vilhelms Purvītis, Janis Rozentāls and Johans Valters not only by the years they spent studying together at the St. Petersburg Academy of Art, but they also enjoyed friendly relations. One of the sections of the exhibition provides an introduction to works by several outstanding Latvian artists who had been pupils of Nicholas Roerich at the Arts School of the Society for the Encouragement in St. Petersburg. Artists that have studied with Roerich include Niklāvs Strunke, Kārlis Miesnieks, Uga Skulme, Jānis Plase, as well as the internationally recognised Gustavs Klucis.

Unique archival materials and artworks from the Liepāja Museum tell the story of Roerich’s family and descent.

A special section of the exhibition is devoted to the Latvian Roerich Society, which was active from 1930 until 1940. Documents, publications and photographic materials from the society’s archives provide an insight into the history and activities of this cultural institution, and also shed light on individual persons of note.

Exhibition curator Ksenija Rudzīte