Patrons of Narva. The Art Collection of the Lavretsovs
The Narva Museum houses the second largest foreign art collection in Estonia. Its nucleus is made up of works left to the museum by Sergey and Glafira Lavretsov. Despite the fact that the collection contains works by well-known Russian artists, such as Ivan Aivazovsky, Leo Lagorio and Vladimir Makovsky, it is not widely known outside Narva. The exhibition provides an overview of the collection, which includes works representing various styles and periods, such as Russian academism from the end of the 19th century and realism, as well as pictures by artists who worked in Narva. A special section is made up of works by young Estonian artists whom the Lavretsovs supported at the early stages of their careers, such as Peet Aren.
The Lavretsovs’ collection is truly exceptional in Estonia. It was left by the art patron Sergey Lavretsov (1825–1906) to the city of Narva, together with his house at 104 Rüütli Street and funds for the upkeep of the Sergey Lavretsov Museum. The collection is comprised of works of figurative art, as well as applied art, cultural-historical and ethnographic items, and mineralogical and zoological materials. The collection of paintings was, and still is, the central and most significant part of the inheritance. The Lavretsovs acquired art during their innumerable travels through Russia and Western Europe: they bought works at exhibitions in St. Petersburg, at the studios of artists (e.g. Ivan Aivazovsky) and from art dealers. Supporting Estonian artists through purchases or scholarships was also important to them. Among those whom the Lavretesovs supported were established artists who had acquired an academic education in St. Petersburg (Peeter Heller, Nikolay Semyonov, Nikolay Lund and Eduard Verber), as well as young artists who were either beginning their studies or finding their paths in the world of art (Peet Aren, August Jansen, Ado Vabbe et al.). This is the first time that a selection of works clearly representative of the Lavretsovs’ collection has been displayed in Tallinn.
Pjotr Heller. Presenting the Children of the Refuge to the Patron. 1892. Narva Museum