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Rīga , LV-1050
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Janis-Roberts TILLBERGS

(1880 - 1972)



Janis Roberts Tillbergs is establisher of the salon portrait tradition in Latvian painting. He is one of the major figures in 20th century Latvian art. The Portraits ha painted of Latvian cultural figures, along with his work in other genres, his caricatures and his contribution to the development of Latvian caricature as such will remain as stable values in Latvian art.


Thanks to the talent, his high demands and the professional ability he had developed, reinforced but his appreciation of the legacy of the old masters, the contribution of Janis Roberts Tillbergs to the genre of the portrait (especially with regards to salon portrait) in the 1920s and 30s has remained unsurpassed.


Some of Tillberg’s landscapes were intended for sale; standing out in particular among these are the sketches he produced in the course of his travels. These scenes from nature, painted in a momentary flood of emotion, reveal a very different side of the artist’s nature: working on small pieces of cardboard, he displays free, dynamic brushwork and colour application. The sketches are impressionistic, colour being emphasized as a vehicle for direct expression of the artist’s experience.


Janis Roberts Tillbergs started his artistic education by attending the crafts school of the Riga (German) Crafts Society (1899–1900), the private studio of Lev Dmitriev-Kavkazsky, who prepared pupils for the entrance examinations of the St Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1901 Janis Roberts Tillbergs became a student of the St Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts. He graduated the Academy in 1909 with diploma work “Pieta” (“Funeral of a worker”). In 1911 he started to work at the Riga City School of Art. He also worked at the Latvian Academy of Art as a head of the Master Class in Figural Painting (1921-32), led his own private studio (1932-1940; 1941-1944) and was a teacher at the Janis Rosentals Riga School of Art and State University of Latvia, Faculty of Architecture. 



Brancis M. Tillbergs, Jānis Roberts // Māksla un arhitektūra biogrāfijās, III / Atb. red. A. Vanaga. R.: A/S Preses nams, 2000, 203–204. lpp.

Bancis M. Jānis Roberts Tillbergs. Rīga: Neputns, 2015.