Alighted by the Fire of Monmartre: Rokiškis Manor Art Collection

M. Žilinskas Art Gallery

M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, in cooperation with Rokiškis Regional Museum, is presenting an exhibition Alighted by the Fire of Monmartre: Rokiškis Manor Art Collection, where for the very first time the manor valuables stored in Rokiškis and Kaunas are exhibited.

The foundation of the collection was formed by Count Konstanty Tyzenhauz (1786 – 1853), who established a picture gallery and an ornithology cabinet in Pastovys (now Belarusian territory). K. Tyzenhauz accumulated his art collection over a period of time while traveling abroad. Constantine’s son-in-law, historian Alexander Przezdziecki (1814–1871), wrote that K. Tyzenhauz had collected his works “even when Montmartre was ablaze in gunfire”. It is safe to say that this phrase, which became the leitmotif of the exhibition, was prophetic, as Montmartre quickly became famous and much loved by the artistic intelligentsia. K. Tyzenhauz had a close connection to France, because of his involvement in the war of 1812 as he chose to live in France for a while after the war was over.

The large part of the exhibit consists of a collection of paintings by foreign artists (Italian, Flemish, French, German). The mentioned artists are Francesco Fontebasso, Marcello Bacciarelli, Salvator Rosa, Guido Cagnacci, Andrea del Sarto, Antoine Mirou, Abraham van Diepenbeeck, Leonaert Bramer, Louis de Caullery and others. In the context of Lithuania related authors, the most exceptional are the drawings and watercolours of Count K. Tyzenhauz himself and the drawings and lithographs of his teacher Aleksander Orłowski. A valuable collection of religious drawings by Szymon Czechowicz. The counts also had extensive collections of Vilnius Album lithographs and tombstones images of Polish-Lithuanian rulers.

The exhibition highlights two prominent Countess women – Sophie Tysenhauz de Choiseul-Gouffier and Maria Tyzenhauz-Przezdziecka, whose talents and good deeds have been revealed in various fields. The exhibition is also complemented by birds from K. Tyzenhauz ornithology office and various fragments from the manor’s everyday life – books, paintings and watercolours by the countesses, accessories. A plentiful collection of amateur photos on display taken by Przezdziecki family members, the last ruling counts of Rokiškis, reveal their interest in photography while a collection of clothing preserved by the manor servants will be seen on show by footage.