Mikkel Museum 10



Mikkel Museum celebrates its 10th anniversary with an exhibition which encompasses the whole museum. An exhibition titled “Mikkel Museum 10” concentrates on the extensive display of graphic art. The room of Estonian art will be added to the permanent exposition.


Johannes Mikkel (1907-2006) was one of the most striking characters in the history of art collecting in the second half of the 20th century. Love for art remained throughout his life as his hobby and his passion, although he earned his living as a shopkeeper. Johannes Mikkel started collecting art as a young man, but unfortunately his first collection was destroyed in the summer of 1941. When more peaceful times descended he started with his second collection. His collection included valuables like porcelain, graphic arts and paintings from Western-Europe, China and Russia.


The largest, most precious and most versatile part of Mikkel´s collection is the collection of graphic arts. Johannes Mikkel collected graphics piece by piece, but when he managed to obtain Woldemar Oldekop´s collection of graphic arts, it was the greatest addition to his collection.

Mikkel´s collection comprises of 401 pieces of art from the 16th century until the beginning of the 20th century. For the first ten years Mikkel Museum had only a small room for engravings, which would display just a few examples, but now there is an opportunity to view a variety of graphics. The Museum exhibits 167 prints and drawings.


Although most of the works (incl. drawings) are exposed for the first time it should be emphasized that some of the works in this collection have remained unknown until now. For example the graphic art of the 18th century, which in France was charming and elegant, in England affectionate and romantic and in Germany influenced by the ideas of enlightenment. The collection represents the best engravers of the fore-mentioned countries, including the colour graphics in pastel colour from the practitioners. In the exhibition four works of art are by W. Hogarth. He became famous for his paintings and graphics criticising society. The same amount of works from that era is by a brilliant Italian etching artist G.B. Piranesi.


The drawings include six most fascinating etudes, which most likely are by A.Dürer; also the nude by the French rococo painter Fr. Boucher and a caricature by the French realist H. Daumier.

In addition to an extensive exhibition of graphics, which brings to the visitors the never presented collection of Johannes Mikkel, the Museum has also updated its permanent exhibition on the second floor. The idea at Mikkel Museum so far has been to introduce foreign art, but now the permanent exhibition will have a valuable addition of Estonian art as well, thanks to the previously mentioned collection.


Johannes Mikkel did not limit himself to collecting only Estonian art as the earlier artistic schools expressing classic ideals fascinated him. Nevertheless, some remarkable works of art by Konrad Mägi and Ants Laikmaa made their way to his collection.

Mikkel Museum was established in 1996 and it is the first museum in Estonia with a function to preserve a private collection of art. During the same year the best pieces from his collection were brought to the museum. In 2005 Johannes Mikkel gave the collection of Estonian art to the Art Museum of Estonia and after his death in 2006 the museum was given additionally several valuable pieces of graphics by Western-European artists from his collection.

The exhibitioner: Ivar-Kristjan Hein; Anu Allikvee

The decorator: Mari Kurismaa; Mari Kaljuste