by “Encyclopedia Lituanica”. II. Boston, 1972. P.
Antanas (1876-1966), painter, born in
Seirijai southern Lithuania, on Oct. 31, 1876. He
graduated from the Teachers' Seminary of Veiveriai in
1894 and for four years worked as elementary school
teacher. Deciding to take up the study of art, he went
to Warsaw in 1898, where he began his training with
the noted Polish painter of historical subjects,
Wojciech Gerson. He showed his first works at an
exhibition of the Art Salon of Warsaw in 1902. In
1905-06 he attended private art academies in Paris.
Shortly after his arrival in Vilnius in the summer of
1906, he was elected chairman of a committee which
organized the first exhibition of Lithuanian artists.
The exhibit was opened on Jan. 9, 1907; of the 213
canvases shown, 35 were his, including such delicately
hued landscapes as The River Neris near Antakalnis,
Hamlet in Dzukija, A Lithuanian After Work, and Exile.
Through his efforts and of others, the Lithuanian Art
Society (Lietuviu Dailes Draugija) came into
being that same year he was elected its president. In
1908 he set out on a journey which took him through
Western Europe and ended in the United States. There
he visited a number of Lithuanian communities,
soliciting patrons for the Art Society and donations
for the National Building in Vilnius. He returned to
Vilnius in the autumn of 1909 and resumed his
activities with the Art Society. In 1912 he went to
Hamburg to study fresco painting. In 1914 he traveled
in northern Norway painting arctic landscapes and came
back to Vilnius just before the outbreak of World War
- After the war, living in
Kaunas, he continued to concern himself with the
organizational life of art and took an active part in
civic affairs throughout the period of independence.
At a retrospective exhibit of Lithuanian art in 1920
he displayed 109 canvases. He revisited the United
States in 1922-24; exhibitions of his art were held in
Washington (1923), and in Chicago and New York (1924).
From 1926-30, he headed the revived Lithuanian Art
Society (see Art Societies). Active in the National
Guard (Sauliu Sajunga), he served as its
president (1929-34) and at times edited its organ Trimitas
(The Bugle). To commemorate his 60th birthday, the
Lithuanian Artists' Association (Lietuvos
Dailininku Sajunga, founded in 1935)
organized exhibitions of his work in Kaunas (1936) and
Klaipeda (1937). A retrospective show was presented in
the town of Alytus (1938). From 1926-40 he taught
drawing at the Kaunas Art School.
- Following the Soviet
occupation of Lithuania during World War II, he
lectured at the Institute of Applied and Decorative
Arts in Kaunas (1944-51), the Institute of Fine Arts
in Vilnius (1951-53), and at the Polytechnic Institute
of Kaunas (1953-66). A retrospective exhibit of his
paintings was held in Moscow (1951) on the occasion of
his 75th birthday. His last one-man shows took place
in Vilnius and Kaunas (both in 1956) and in Palanga
(1963). He died on Aug. 9, 1966. His memoirs, written
in a vivid style, appeared under the title Palete
ir gyvenimas (A Palette and Life) in 1961.
Throughout his long life he was an ardent collector,
amassing an extensive and valuable collection of
Lithuanian art, historic and ethnographic items, and
folk artifacts. A portion of this collection is housed
in museums In Kaunas and Vilnius, and the rest in the
museum bearing his name, which was founded in Kaunas
- As a young man
Zmuidzinavicius led a somewhat bohemian existence, the
circumstances of which did not permit him to complete
his formal studies. For his training, he relied more
on museums, which he visited on his travels and where
he could learn from some of the finest masters of art.
As a painter he came to create his own style and
school of painting. In form, however, his work could
be said to come close to the Barbizon school. For
example, his Man Harvesting Potatoes (1906)
brings to mind the art of Jean F. Millet. That he did
not entirely bypass modern trends indicate such works
as Hamlet in Dzukija, All Through the Night,
Receiving a Letter, the portrait of Tadas
Daugirdas, and self-portrait, which were painted in
1906-10 and which reveal the artist's sensitive
feeling for impressionistic colors. Later he devoted
himself almost entirely to landscape painting and
through the years developed his own original style. In
his art nature is not subjected to fierce storms, nor
is there the grey gloominess of autumn, which clouds
the daily life of a peasant bent under the yoke of
toil. A rainy or a cloudy day, exactly like a sunny
one, evokes a peaceful, idyllic mood when the laborer
forgetting the privations of his life delights in the
beauties of nature. In this respect, he could be
called the bard of Lithuanian peasants, who sang of
what was dearest and most beautiful about their land.
One of his best-known works is Two Pines
(1930), in which a characteristic Lithuanian landscape
and nature's gladsome mood are captured with a
simplicity of design and form.
- 1. Antanas
Zmuidzinavicius (album with introduction by J.
Mackonis), Vilnius, 1961;
- 2. Savickas, Peizazas
lietuviu tapyboje, Vilnius. 1965.