“Vincentas Vasiliauskas (1895–1989) – a sniper, a shopkeeper, a painter”
A self-taught artist Vincentas Vasiliauskas (1895–1989) started painting only after he had retired. An elderly man with a primary education had already lived through most of his complex biography, actually had done every job he could, from a shopkeeper, a sniper to a meat chopper, had survived the war and Siberia, had brought up children and grandchildren. Only after having accumulated the wisdom of experience did the passion for painting burst forth, even though with no artistic education. The artist’s legacy covers almost 400 works, each one encompassing absolutely complete and meticulously presented worldview.
In terms of genres, V. Vasiliauskas’ paintings follow the tradition – landscapes, still lifes, portraits; gouache, oil, watercolours on paper or cardboard. Everything is as simple as that. However, every piece seems to explode from the power of a concept, when striving for a complex task of expression. Obviously, the author is not looking for an easy way of expression, instead, he is seeking for a highly individual, authentic solution. Buildings and trees are very cute in their chaotic perspective which is strengthened by carefully drawn details. But the fight between architecture and nature is won by the latter; it is nature that is imposed with the warmest feelings and sincere admiration.
Figures and portraits for V. Vasiliauskas are, perhaps, the most difficult tasks. They reveal the most striking deformations – the distinguishing feature of the so called Sunday artists. Nevertheless, the irregular anatomy of a body or portrait is painted both confidently and inspirationally.
Exhibitions of self-taught artists organized from time to time at art museums and galleries suggestively refute the limits between the professional and non-professional art. Works by authors who had acquired artistic education not seldom appear far from perfect, while non-educated artists often seem sensitive and wholly talented. It all depends on the viewer’s outlook. A nice opportunity to make certain of that is the exhibition of a self-taught painter Vincentas Vasiliauskas compiled from the collections of the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art and private collections.