Bank of Lithuania
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The Bank of Lithuania, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, has prepared and published the album “The Art Collection of the Bank of Lithuania” to mark the occasion. For the first time, it presents the artworks – paintings, ceramics, sculptures and stained glass – collected by the central bank during the interwar period and after 1990.

“We are introducing to the public a slightly lesser known, yet one of the most interesting areas of the Bank of Lithuania’s activities, which started with the establishment of the building of the Bank of Lithuania, located at the intersection of K. Donelaičio and Maironio Streets in Kaunas. The erection of that iconic building under the management of Vladas Jurgutis, the first Governor of the Bank of Lithuania, gave start to the collection of works by Lithuanian and foreign artists. The collection of the Bank of Lithuania’s artworks accumulated in Vilnius and Kaunas to this day not only serves the purpose of decoration, but also testifies to the institution’s desire to contribute to the preservation of the national art heritage,” Gediminas Šimkus, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, says in the preface to the album.

“As the project manager for the art collection album, I had no doubt about its significance for the public and the Bank. I was motivated by the desire to highlight this non-specific area of the Bank’s activities, to give art lovers, researchers, collectors, galleries and museums an opportunity to get acquainted with the works of the Bank’s art collection. It is important to keep going, to supplement the collection with new and valuable works in a targeted and purposeful way, to enhance its artistic interestingness, quality and lasting value. This was also the mission of the founders of the Bank of Lithuania a hundred years ago,” says Asta Ravaitytė-Kučinskienė, project manager and compiler of the album, Head of the Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania.

The text of the album is divided into three parts, which include an overview of the beginning of the formation of the art collection in the interwar Bank of Lithuania, the history of the acquisition of new works after the restoration of independence, the presentation of the artworks at international and national exhibitions, the policy for the formation of collections of central banks in various countries, and a description of the artistic characteristics of the Bank of Lithuania’s art collection. Each part of the text is accompanied by short biographies of the artists, reproductions of their works and quotations reflecting the artists’ personalities or the traits of their artistic creation. The album does not present all the works and artists in the Bank’s art collection, instead, more prominent works of the artists have been selected.

The texts for the album were written by art critic, exhibition curator and lecturer, art market expert dr. Viktoras Liutkus. In addition, thanks to his knowledge and professionalism, the titles and dating of the works have been clarified, the nature and significance of the collection has been defined, the most valuable works have been selected for reproduction, and unpublished information has been discovered in the archives. According to Viktoras Liutkus, the Bank of Lithuania’s current art collection of more than 200 works can be described as a collection of contemporary art. In this case, the term “contemporary” refers to the time when the works were created: the collection is dominated by the works created between the 1960s and 1990s. It also reflects the direction of acquisition of the works, i.e. during the intensive period of decoration of the bank’s premises from 1993 to 1998. The most striking feature of the entire collection is the work of Lithuanian artists, with only a few exceptions. Paintings are clearly predominant, with landscapes, the majority of which are characterised by the colourful artistic expression typical of the Lithuanian painting tradition, with views of Lithuanian lakes, rivers, parks, city panoramas and the seaside.

500 copies of the album are printed using eco-friendly materials. The album is distributed to Lithuanian libraries, scientific institutions, museums and used for representation purposes. The electronic version of the album is available here.

Photos by Martynas Ambrazas