From 1 May to 5 July 2015, the Art Museum Riga Bourse hosted the exhibition “Magnetism of Provence”. With this exhibition, the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation marked the fifth anniversary of its operations in Latvia and offered museum visitors the opportunity to view works by great French artists from the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century. This was the first time in Latvian museum history that an exhibition had been organised on such a scale.
In collaboration with the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation, the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) presented a unique exhibition at the Art Museum Riga Bourse, which offered viewers an introduction to the creative output of legendary art world personalities: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Marc Chagall, Raoul Dufy and Pablo Picasso. Among the works on show in the exhibition were paintings from Picasso’s “Fauna” series as well as some of his ceramics, Dufy’s “Fountain at Vence”, Chagall’s “Clock in the Flaring Sky”, Paul Signac’s “Spring in Provence” and other works.
The exhibition, its related events and education programme were attended by 50,155 viewers. “Magnetism of Provence” became the most visited exhibition in Latvia during the past 20 years.
In supporting this project, the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation, which is one of the partners in the establishment of the nascent Museum of Contemporary Art, sought to showcase the development of contemporary art in the 20th century, which would be unimaginable without the works of art of its forerunner: classical modernism, the movement to which the works represented in the exhibition belong.
In France in the early 20th century, several artistic genres evolved that were subsequently partly repudiated by the generation of emerging artists who came to the fore after the Second World War. Nevertheless, there were others from this same generation who did form a partial dialogue with the said genres. From the 1970s onwards, postmodern art largely evolved, based on the accomplishments of the early part of the century. The magic of nature in the specific region and the genres of modernism originating in France have also proved to be sources of inspiration for several generations of Latvian artists.
The exhibition’s title “Magnetism of Provence” is symbolic, because artists who have spent a longer or shorter part of their lives in the South of France have undeniably been influenced by the surrounding environment, inspiring them to create outstanding works of art. In these works, one can sense specific and inimitable qualities characteristic of the light and colours in the South of France, which have been transformed into expressive lines on the artists’ canvases, into a rich colour scheme or character outlines, forming an impression of the atmosphere of the locale. What the works in the exhibition have in common is the creative transformation of these impulses of nature and the environment into an idiosyncratic and memorable artistic vision.