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Collection of Glass Art

The glass art collection of EMAAD comprises nearly 900 decorative glass objects by 40 artists. There are represented decorative forms, glassware, drinking sets, decorative monumental objects both from non-coloured as well as coloured glass. Of the glass processing techniques can be seen both cold glass technique as well as hot glass technique, but just as well several techniques created by individual authors.

It was not until 1936 that the speciality of glass art was established at the State School of Arts and Crafts, so glasswork is one of the youngest fields of professional Estonian applied art. During its early years, the Estonian glass art was predominantly influenced by the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden) and Czech glass art. In 1938-1970 the head of the department of glass art was Maks Roosma (1909 - 1971), who had studied glass art in Czech Republic. Maks Roosma can be considered the founder of Estonian glass art, because he laid the foundations for educating professional glass artists in Estonia. Maks Roosma himself worked mainly in engraving technique, excelling in technical and artistic quality. The exposition at EMAAD presents the best of his works: the plate “Virgo” (1956), the vase “The Guardian of Fern Blossom” (1958), “The Ones Underwater”(1958), etc.
The following artists from among the first students of Roosma and by the same token from among the classics of Estonian glass art should be mentioned: Helga Kõrge, Ingi Vaher, Mirjam Maasikas, Pilvi Ojamaa, Silvia Raudvee, Leida Jürgen, Eino Mäelt, Peeter Rudaš. The first four designed the production of the glass factory Tarbeklaas from the 1950s up to the 1980s. Pilvi Ojamaa is the only Estonian glass artist that has remained true to the traditions of noble but intricate engraving technique established by Maks Roosma throughout the years. Ojamaa has predominantly engraved gracious female nudes, gymnasts, and portraits (in exposition: the vase “Sadness”, 1976).

The 1960s – 70s
As during the soviet period the means of Estonian glass industry were limited, many Estonian glass artists left to work at the glass factories in fellow republics in the 1950s-60s (L.Jürgen, L.Põld, S.Raudvee, K.Vaks). In the 1970s, young glass artists made use of the so-called creative bases at Byelorussian or Ukrainian glass factories to put their ideas into practice. For this reason the glass forms from the 1960s-70s created in the hot glass technique inevitably bear a certain air of Slavic taste with their sumptuous fluidity of detail.
But in general the Estonian glass art can be characterised by laconic and simple design as the sets by Silvia Raudvee, created with a good sense of proportions, demonstrate. As concerns techniques, the artist makes use with equal success of both brilliant cutting as well as diamond point engraving (exp: “Contrast”, 1969; set “Wild Dianthus”, 1969).
Eino Mäelt started at the factory Tarbeklaas as an artist-experimental glass blower. His decorative forms that have become Estonian glass art classics are mould-casting forms with strict geometrical shape made in broad grinding, with bright red and green colours shining inside a thick mass of glass (exp: “Summer Afternoons in Meleski”, 1974; “Breakwaters”, 1976). Peeter Rudaš has been an active seeker in the field of form and technique (exp: “Stone”, 1980). Maie-Ann Raun has always demonstrated a good mastery of colour and form harmony in her use of coloured glass (exp: the set “For Two” 1969).

The 1980s-90s
M.-A. Raun continued M. Roosma’s mission in educating glass artists. Of her students Kai Koppel, V.-A. Keerdo, Eha Henning, Rait Prääts, Ivo Lill, Eve Koha, Mare Saare, and others, have gained acknowledgement both home and abroad. The works by them all can be seen in the museum’s exposition. K. Koppel has created fascinating decorative forms in hot glass technique (exp: “Mystery”, 1989). R. Prääts has carried out extensive stained glass orders. His interesting and multi-layered glass objects have brought the concept of semantic subtext into the decorative applied art (exp: “Windows”, 1999; “Construction”, 2002). I. Lill is creating clued sheetglass objects (exp: ” Green Tower”, 1986; “Moment”, 1995) that are stylish and exciting and have attracted attention abroad as well. Ivo Lill has been granted with the Kristjan Raud Award in Estonia (1999) and the silver medal at the International Kanazawa Glass Exhibition in Japan (2001) for his objects “Target”. The works by M. Saare, where within the fine colour harmonies and linear graphics lie the artist’s quests for the cultures vanished or still to be discovered (exp: “Signs”, 2001), represent the delicate and minimalist trend in glass art.

Additional information: 
Anne Tiivel – curator of glass art collection.
Phone: +372 627 4604