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Bulgaria
Vladimir Dimitrov is considered the most representational and remarkable painter and stylist in
Bulgaria in the post-Russo-Turkish War era. His work has been likened to that of the Fauvist
artists working at the same time in Western Europe. During the wars, influenced by Tolstoyism,
he remained apart from the developing atmosphere of jingoist exaltation to which many
Bulgarian intellectuals were leaning and instead portrayed the tragedy of the events. His work
demonstrates a shift after the wars and a refocus on native art, a feature synonymous with a
refocus throughout both Europe and Bulgaria on finding a ‘national art.’ This meant a search for
something specifically Bulgarian. Vladimir Dimitrov became a master of this return to native
values, beginning early in the century with his production of a series of pictures that revealed
elements of a new plastic syntax capable of expressing the national spirit of art. Realism
reigned as the principle style of Bulgaria at this time and, despite the symbolic quality of
Vladimir Dimitrov’s work, he fits within this style.
The Baltic Regions
By the turn of the century Latvian artists, fully aware of the European art scene were embroiled
in Impressionism and Expressionism. Latvian art was lifted to the level of European art by the
likes of Jānis Rozentāls, Vilhelms Purvītis and Jānis Valters. As in Germany, graphic art
became important in Latvia at this time merging Art Nouveau with Symbolism and Realism.
Modernism throughout the war years developed under artists such as Jāzeps Grosvalds,
Jēkabs Kazaks and the Rīga Art Group. In Estonia the progression of modern art was hindered
due to the fact that there was a developing awareness of imported art from abroad. As a result
of this Estonian artists were cultivating and intertwining different art trends at the same time,
Impressionism (which developed as late as the 1930s), Divisionism, Post-impressionism, Art
Nouveau, Symbolism, Expressionism and National Romanticism developed simultaneously and
not one of these styles appeared in Estonia in their pure European form. This can be seen in
the work of the first Estonian Modernists Konrad Mägi, Jaan Koort, Nikolai Triik and Aleksander
Tassa.
The Czech Lands
By the later half of the 19th century the National Theatre generation was supplanted in the
1890s by the Mánes Association of artists. The Manes was significant for its encouragement
and interaction with international art movements, most specifically the Avant-garde. Early into
their development this group of artists split and the group fragmented. Several small
movements evolved, particularly in the fine arts. Expressionism was developed by Antonín
Slavíček (1870-1910) whose paintings demonstrate the beginning of modern Czech landscape
painting and continued in the works of Emil Filla, Bohumil Kubišta and Antonín Procházka. The
first traces of Symbolism came in the sculptures of František Bílek (1872-1941), Jan Preisler
(1872-1918), who demonstrated both symbolism and impressionist in his work such as Černé
jezero (Black lake) and Pohádka (Fairytale). Symbolism developed into Sursum which was led
by some of the biggest figures in Czech art such as Jan Zrzavý and Josef Váchal (1884-1969).
Graphic designer Max Švábinský (1873-1962) created the School of Graphic Arts, the first
professor of a special graphic arts section at the Academy in Prague; Significant figures of
Czech cubism included Emil Filla, Bohumil Kubišta, Antonín Procházka , Josef Čapek (1887-
80
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