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House of Painter Antanas Žmuidzinavičius

Kaunas, Lithuania
1 of 24
M. Mickeviciutes nuotrauka, 2018 m.

Antanas Žmuidzinavičius is a famous Lithuanian artist, collector, prominent public figure, organiser of the first Lithuanian art exhibition, and traveller whose travel impressions are reflected in his works. He is also known as an artist who collected devils and witches made of various materials: wood, ceramics, leather and even dried fruit. Currently, his collection is exhibited in the Devil’s museum in Kaunas, which is next to his house on V.Putvinskio 64.

The artist Antanas Žmuidzdinavičius and his wife, Marija Putviskaite, started building a house in Kaunas in 1928. Initially, the house had two floors; however, a third floor was added later to the building in 1938, where A. Žmuidzinavičius installed his workshop. The artist and his family lived on the second floor of the structure and rented the first floor: helping students, exiles or the less fortunate.

The architect of the house is V.Landbergis. The building has a sleek, asymmetrical shape. The staircase is formed on the side of the house and is slightly set back from the street to the inside of the plot. A small semi-detached storey is formed above the glazed staircase after the third floor has been built over. The main façade is divided into two bays: the third floor is separated by a small cornice. A small circular projection is formed in the centre of the façade, terminating in a small balcony on the third floor. The window frames on the first and second floors have undulating shapes, giving the façade an expressive character. The building is topped with a moderate cornice. The side façade forms a rounded part of the house, which is set back from the street into the interior of the plot. The rear elevation has a cylindrical staircase (bay) projecting into the courtyard. Above this is a spacious studio, glazed with three massive windows.

The interior solutions were modern and new for that period of life. The artist's home also features even more subtle interior details: the dark red colour of the doors and floors, the recessed wardrobes, the accents of the national motif, such as the Suvalkian fabric on the furniture, the tulip motif on the balcony fence, and the green colour of the floor in the workshop, which, according to the artist, is not a distraction, but help to concentrate.

The artist A.Žmuidzinavičius lived in the building from 1929 to 1966. In 1966, a branch of the M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum, the Museum of Works and Collections of Antanas Žmuidzinavičius, was opened in this house. In the interwar period, the building was, for a while, the seat of the Swedish Consulate, and in 1930 the Finnish-Swedish writer Henri Parlandas worked there.

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