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Exhibition ’The Artists of Römer Family’
3 June – 17 September, 2006
The Artists of the Römer Family
Römer is a large noble family that used to live in the territory of Saxonia. In the 13th c. one of the branches of this family settled in the southern lands of Latvia and was related to Curonian dukes. Around 1660 Römer lost their lands in Curonia and moved to Lithuania. Here they intermarried Sulistrowski, Korsak, Kierdiej, Puzyna, Pac, Radvila, etc., families and purchased estates in Trakai, Ukmergë and Aðmena districts (powiats). The Römer family became the most influential in the 19th c. when its members were known as active organisers of public and cultural life as well as zealous patriots. Some members of the Römer family were excellent musicians and expressed themselves in literature. There was no other family in Lithuania that had as many artists as Römer had.Edward Jan Römer (1806–1878) is justly considered as the progenitor of Römer as a dynasty of artists. He studied art at the Vilnius University under Jan Rustem and exhibited his works already during the first exhibition of art held in Vilnius in 1820. He inherited his vocation for art from his father Michaù Józef Römer (1778–1853), marshal of Vilnius nobility who not only organised support for young gifted men to study art, but also could draw beautifully himself. Edward Jan Römer’s brothers Henryk (1803–1828) and Seweryn (1814–1890) as well as his sister Anna (1804–1890) were also interested in art and used to draw and paint in watercolour at leisure. Edward Jan’s sons Alfred (1832–1897) and Edward Mateusz (1848–1900) Römer were among the most prominent 19th century Lithuanian artists. Stanislaw Römer (1892–1965), the son of Izydor, Alfred and Edward Mateusz’s brother, used to paint amateur watercolour portraits. Stanislaw’s elder brother Eugeniusz strengthened the connections of the Römer family with the art world by marrying Zofia Dembovska (1885–1972) who was already a mature artist. After having moved to the Römer estate in Tytuvënai, Zofia Römer dedicated her life to art. She used to sign her works as Romerienë; later, when she lived far away from Lithuania, Romer, because her husband changed the spelling of his name after 1818.Edward Jan’s brother Seweryn passed his interest in art to both of his children: daughter Maria (1847–1939) and son Kazimierz (1848–1921). Maria and Kazimierz Römer lived in Vilnius and in their Janapolis estate in Rezekne region inherited from their parents. They drew and painted watercolour and pastel portraits as well as copied old family paintings. Kazimierz married Kazimiera, the daughter of the most famous 19th century Lithuanian sculptor Elena Skirmantaitë. His daughter Kazimiera Liudvika (1899–1989), who later married Karolis Vankavièius, continued the family tradition and became an artist. Kazimierz’s son Antanas did not paint. He dedicated his life to his farm and family, especially to his wife, professional artist Ona Soltanaitë (1895–1974). Even though they had many children, he provided her with the possibility to create and live a full-fledged life of an artist and constantly participate in art exhibitions. Edward Jan Römer’s posterity were somewhat more distantly related to the artist Stefan Römer, son of Witold and Maria Römer born in the Ukraine, but grown up in the estate in Bogdaniðkis, Rokiðkis district, property of his grandparents Michal Kazimierz Römer and Konstancja Tukaùùo.There seems to be no artists in other branches of the Römer family, with the exception of Helena Römer, the daughter of Felicjan Römer, who represents the so-called across-Daugava branch. She was born and grew up in Vitebsk region; when she arrived in Vilnius she kept close contacts with the famous artists of her family, studied under Edward Mateusz Römer and lived in Römer’s house in Savièiaus (now Bokðto) Street. We cannot judge the artistic expression of many members of the Römer family. Many works of art have disappeared in time: some of them got burned, others were scattered in various countries or were destroyed. Despite this, it is possible to discover paintings and prints by the Römer family in all major Lithuanian and Polish museums and manuscript collections of libraries. The best preserved heritage is that of Alfred Römer and Zofia and Anna Römer: their children and families took care of it. The exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of Edward Jan Römer presents the heritage of all artists from the Römer family together for the first time: over 330 works created in oil, pastel and watercolour techniques, drawings, prints and sculptural medallions, courtesy of Lithuanian Art Museum, National Museum of Lithuania, M. K. Èiurlionis National Museum of Art, Ðiauliai Auðra Museum, Þemaièiai Alka Museum, Rokiðkis Area Museum, National Museum in Warsaw, Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences and Warsaw National Library. Several exhibits were kindly lent by the collector Edmundas Armoðka, Stefanija Romerytë and Andrzej Romer who lives in Brussels.


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