Raimonds Staprans. Five Paintings
September 12, 2016
From 10 September to 20 November 2016 exhibition of paintings by Raimonds Staprāns, Five Paintings, are on show in the 4th Floor Exhibition Hall of the LNMA. Ten years ago, in 2006, when ABLV Bank for the first time supported Raimonds Staprāns exhibition at the LNMA, it served as an impulse for the establishment of the ABLV Charitable Foundation.
When Raimonds Staprāns last staged a personal exhibition at the Latvian National Museum of Art in 2006, he wrote in the catalogue: “There is a broad grey area between realism and abstract or nonobjective art, where those who don’t really prefer one or the other wander in search of their own path. And it seems I’m one of those.” The 2006 exhibition was seen as an outstanding art event in Latvia, with 35 works ranging from the 1970s to recent creations. Over the past 10 years, the Latvian art audience has remembered this exhibition as one of the highest artistic quality.
This year, the museum has invited Raimonds Staprāns to present works that have been painted since his previous exhibition. Staprāns paints each and every day; his slow and methodical process results in paintings that have a tense situation of balance. The artist has sent five paintings from his studio in San Francisco for this exhibition – four landscapes and one still life painting. Dialogues of colours, proportions of planes, and relations between sunny and shadowy areas are in total balance, bringing together the contradictory concepts of tension and peace.
Raimonds Staprāns was born in 1926 and will celebrate his 90th birthday this year. Born in Riga, the painter and playwright fled to the West with his family toward the end of World War II. He settled in San Francisco, earning a bachelor’s degree in art and dramaturgy from the University of Washington in Seattle and a master’s degree in art from the University of California Berkeley in 1952.
Like many of his contemporaries in America in the 1950s, Staprāns first worked under the influence of Abstract Expressionism; however, since the mid-1970s he has chosen a synthesis of realism and abstract art. Staprāns’ works are representative of the California Bay Area school of figurative painting, and his paintings take full advantage of the specific light found in this region of the United States. Since the 1980s, Staprāns has painted still lifes and landscapes, ranging from the Pacific coastline marked by docks and anonymous buildings to ordinary objects like kitchen equipment or tools. His paintings are marked by a careful consideration of the geometry of areas on the canvas and controlled emotionality; the relationship between planes and colours is tense. Staprāns’ figurative realism allows him to treat the surfaces of objects as abstract planes.
Raimonds Staprāns’ artworks are owned by the Fine Art Museum in San Francisco, the Oakland Museum of California, the Los Angeles County Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, the Pasadena Museum of Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Houston Arts Museum, the John F. Kennedy Museum of Art, and the Latvian National Museum of Art.
Raimonds Staprāns. Sunflower in Sunset. 2010-2015. Oil on canvas. Author's property. Publicity photo