18 of my art works, including large scale ones, have recently been permanently installed in a historic Eastern European mansion. Since origins are dear to my heart, I shall digress into a segment of European history.
In 1807 Lithuania was occupied by Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon gave a large track of land to Juozapas Poniatovskis. When he died in 1813, the holdings were inherited by Poniatovskis’ sister, Terese Tiskeviciene. The Zypliai holdings included 155 villages and 15,600 acres of forest. The actual Zypliai manor had about 40 acres of land.
The holdings went through several ownerships until the manor was purchased by Count Tomas Potockis. Between 1891-1901 he rebuilt the mansion, making it two stories. In 1897 the wooden farm buildings burned down and had to be re-built.
One of the most popular and beautiful museums in Lithuania is the Amber Museum in Palanga. This mansion was built in 1897-1902 by Count Feliksas Tiskevicius. The design was by the German architect Franz Heinrich Schwechten. The surrounding botanical gardens were by the landscape architect Eduard Fancois Andre. Given the geographic proximity, the similarity in architectural design, and the identical dates of the buildings, the Zypliu mansion must have been designed by these same architects.
After the count’s death in 1912 and the manor became a seminary. Between WWI and WWII the mansion was used as an agriculture school, and after 1945 by a collective farm board.
The buildings were eventually abandoned and suffered much damage. In 2002 Vidas Cikanas started the arduous process of restoring the estate. The renovations were completed in 2014. The mansion hosts exhibits, art displays, concerts, lectures and symposia. It is visited by 10,000 visitors each year.
The largest room in the mansion is on the first floor, just off the main entrance. It serves as a reception and conference room. It is in this room that my art works decorate all of the walls. The display is, modestly speaking, magnificent.