Unknown Konrad Mägi Artwork in Estonia

December 6, 2021

At the end of November painting by Konrad Mägi was unknown in Estonia until recently arrived from Canada. The piece that belongs to the Museum of Estonians Abroad (VEMU) collection has been brought to Estonian for five years at the initiative of the Konrad Mägi Foundation to be cleaned, restored, and introduced to researchers and the public.

The piece is from one of the most valuable Konrad Mägi periods, the Saaremaa period (1912- 1913) and depicts the Bay of Abaja in Kihelkonna. The piece belonged to Laine Pant’s family who brought it along when they fled Estonia. The piece travelled through Germany to Toronto where it hung in Laine Pant’s apartment for many years. After her death, she donated the painting to the Museum of Estonians Abroad.

The Chairman of the Board of the Konrad Mägi Foundation, Enn Kunila, says that he is very happy that so many of Konrad Mägi’s lost works have been found over the last few years. “It brings special pleasure to bring back a painting to Estonia that had once travelled thousands of kilometres West,” said Kunila. “Laine Pant’s family considered the painting to be valuable enough to take it with them despite everything when they fled and kept it in their home in Toronto for decades. Many thanks to them in retrospect.” According to Kunila, the goal of the Konrad Mägi Foundation is to restore the painting and then make it available to researchers and the public.

The Chief Archivist of the Museum of Estonians Abroad, Piret Noorhani, says that this piece is the most valuable in the VEMU art collection. “Surely, Laine Pant would be happy that the painting that belonged to her family has made it back to the homeland where many art enthusiasts can enjoy it.” Noorhani also hopes that Mägi’s painting will have a special place in the exhibition space of VEMU’s new building when it returns to Canada.

Eero Epner