1. An exhibition introducing the work of graphic artist Herald Eelma was opened in the Wittenstein Activity Museum

An exhibition introducing the work of graphic artist Herald Eelma was opened in the Wittenstein Activity Museum

12. Mar 2024

An exhibition introducing the work of graphic artist Herald Eelma was opened in the Wittenstein Activity Museum

On March 24 (Sunday), starting at 12:00, the exhibition “Home in progress” introducing the work of graphic artist Herald Eelma will be opened at the Paide Wittenstein Activity Museum (Tallinn tn 9 and 11). The exhibition is dedicated to the 90th birthday of the artist who emerged from Järva County, and the exhibited works come from the author’s own collection. At the opening of the exhibition, the artist celebrating his 90th birthday will present his creative path and the works exhibited in the exhibition. The book introducing the artist’s work “Herald Eelma aeg ja joon” will also be presented.

Graphic artist Herald Eelma was born in Järva County, Järva-Jaani Parish, Võhmuta, in the family of Villem Eelma and Elfriede Eelma, a Kase forest ranger, on March 26, 1934 as the third child.

Eelma started drawing because her siblings already knew something. “My brother picked up the mandolin and after a while he already knew how to play it. My sister was good at drawing horses. It caused envy: can’t I do something then?” muses the artist.

Herald Eelma started school in 1941 at Võhmuta Primary School, then studied at Karinu 7th grade school and from 1949-1953 at Paide Middle School. Eelma graduated cum laude from the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR (ERKI) in 1959. Worked 1960-1962 as a watercolor teacher at ERKI. 1962-1992 was a freelance artist. In 1992, he started working as a drawing teacher at Tallinn University of Arts and at the same time he was also an art teacher at Paimios Varsinais-Suomen Kansanopisto. He worked as a professor and head of the drawing curriculum at the Estonian Academy of Arts until 2000, after which he again works as a freelance artist.

Herald Eelma started performing at exhibitions as a freelance and book artist right after graduating from the art institute. His originality as a graphic artist was already evident in his diploma thesis, which was the illustrations for A. H. Tammsaare’s novel “Tõde ja eriks”. The woodcut illustrations, cover vignettes and wrappers for the novel were completed in 1964-1969. He didn’t have to look far for inspiration: Eelma’s childhood was spent in a milieu quite similar to the life of the people of Vargamäe. Through these illustrations, Eelma presented himself as a calm artist who soberly observes the phenomena of life. The artist stayed with a similar creative style in his subsequent works.

His series of graphic pages “Girls” (1965), “Sunday” (1972) are well known. Several abstract letterpress prints from early graphics: “Critical Moment” (1967), “Blooming” (1968). In the lithographs of the late 1970s (“Gate”, “Ceiling”), parallels can be seen with Marju Mutsu’s graphics of that time. Then one of Eelma’s favorite motifs, the theme of stones, developed in the lithographs: “Bank” (1989), “Kaitsevall” (1990). It seems that Eelma has not had any sudden upheavals, his art has developed smoothly through several stages.

Herald Eelma’s major work is the illustration of “Kalevala” (1985, pencil drawing). The illustrations for A. H. Tammsaare’s work “I loved a German” are an example of the mastery of wood engraving.

The artist’s source of inspiration has been close and distant memory images that come from the real world. The artist has been interested in permanent values, traditions and sustainability in a threatened world. The passage of time, man in time and man’s creation, tensions in society.

The exhibition can be viewed at the Wittenstein Action Museum until July 1, 2024. The possibility of visiting during the opening hours of the museum, Wed-Sun, 10.00-18.00.

Additional information

Ründo Mülts
SA Time Center Wittenstein/Järvamaa Museum