I Truly Suffer when I Cannot Work… Agathe Veeber

Archival project by the Art Museum of Estonia
Carried out by: Anne Untera, director of the graphic art collection, and Ulrika Jõemägi, head of the archives

For 2018 the Art Museum of Estonia is preparing an instalment in its series of archival publications: a study on the life and oeuvre of Agathe Veeber, with the preliminary title I Truly Suffer when I Cannot Work… Agathe Veeber. The Art Museum of Estonia currently holds more than 600 works of art by Veeber: cityscapes (including repeated images of St. Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn), still lifes, portraits and other items. In 2016, we additionally received a number of letters, photos and documents together with the artist’s printmaking plates and completed works. We are currently processing this archival material for a publication and an exhibition at the Kumu Art Museum.

Tallinn-born Agathe Veeber (Agathe Wilhelmine Kanto, 1901–1988) married the painter Kuno Veeber (1898–1929) in 1926. Agathe studied art at the Tallinn Gymnasium for Girls No. 1, Ants Laikmaa’s studio school, the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg, the Tartu Art School Pallas and in 1944 at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. While living in refugee camps in Germany, the artist desperately searched for ways to continue her work as a graphic artist. Living in exile in the United States as of 1949, Veeber became rather widely recognised; her works of art can be found not only in Estonian collections but also in several museums in the States. Agathe Veeber’s works have been displayed in the following personal exhibitions: Columbus Museum, Georgia, 1960; New York Estonian House, 1961 (together with Arno Vihalemm); Art Museum of Estonia, Kadriorg Palace, 1982; Adamson-Eric Museum, 2002.

Veeber was one of the few Estonian female graphic artists to graduate from the Pallas Art School. An archival publication on the life and oeuvre of her schoolmate Salome Trei was issued in 2015. In 2017 we will release an archival publication on the life of Agather Veeber’s friend and fellow student, the sculptor Linda Sõber.