The Graphic Arts Department of the Art Museum of Estonia compiles three collections for the preservation of graphic materials: the largest of these is Collection of Graphic Art, accompanied by the Research Support Graphic Art Collection and the Graphic Design Collection.
The Graphic Art Collection
The Graphic Art Collection is the largest sub-collection of the Art Museum of Estonia (consisting of more than 27,000 items), and it includes mainly paper-based works of art: prints, drawings, watercolours and much more. Most of these works of art are nationally, territorially or thematically linked to Estonia. The pride of the Graphic Art Collection are the works of Baltic-German Estophiles and the first professional Estonian artists from the 18th and 19th centuries. The core of the collection illustrates the formation of the Estonian printmaking tradition in the first half of the 20th century and also includes a variety of trends and movements of the post-World War II era. Contemporary experimental graphic art is also represented by the works of both domestic and international authors.
Research Support Graphic Art Collection
The Research Support Graphic Art Collection is composed of about 10,000 items that could be of interest to researchers who wish to delve into the creative process of artworks. The collection includes sketches, drawing pads, bookplates, 19th-century drawing models, Soviet prints, and printing plates and blocks. Printing plates by Eduard Wiiralt and Herman Talvik comprise a substantial part of the collection, which is supplemented by numerous sketches by Baltic-German and Estonian artists. The portfolios of some contemporary artists, including Endi Poskovic, Antonio Claudio Carvalho and others who are active in the international arena can also be found in this collection.
Graphic Design Collection
The Graphic Design Collection contains a wide variety of items, ranging from cigarette pack labels from the 1920s and 1930s to Soviet-era soft drink labels to the test printings of 1990s advertising posters. The largest part of the collection is comprised of posters for cultural events, primarily exhibitions, organised by the Art Museum of Estonia throughout the years. The oeuvre of many well-known Estonian graphic artists and designers is amply represented. Besides the posters advertising cultural events, there is also a large collection of socialist realist propaganda posters.