On 26 January, to mark the day of the international de iure recognition of the Republic of Latvia, the Foreign Ministry unveils an exhibition titled Diplomacy and Art. Jāzeps Grosvalds, featuring unique materials from the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art.
This exhibition introduces the viewers to artist Jāzeps Grosvalds (1891-1920) – a striking personality and the initiator of Latvian modernism – and his family who provided a lasting contribution to the shaping of diplomacy, culture and public opinion from the mid-1800s until the second half of the 20th century. Several diplomats have come from the Grosvalds family. In 1919, the brothers Oļģerds and Jāzeps both embarked on diplomatic careers, although before that they had embraced an arts-related education and had been professionally active in that field.
In February 1919 Oļģerds Grosvalds was appointed Secretary of the Delegation of Latvia at the Paris Peace Conference and some months later – Head of the Latvian Government Delegation in France. Foreign Minister Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics also invited Oļģerds’ younger brother Jāzeps to join the diplomatic service on account of his language skills and intellectual facility. Meierovics also saw in Jāzeps Grosvalds the makings of a professional diplomat.
In the summer of 1919, which was to be the last in his life, Jāzeps Grosvalds was appointed Secretary of the Latvian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference and in December was enlisted to service at the representation of Latvia in Paris. During this period of intense diplomatic activity, Jāzeps nevertheless also found time for his art. His brother Oļģerds Grosvalds wrote about their work in the diplomatic service: “I couldn’t imagine anything more pleasing and useful than our joint work in this particular vocation.”
From December 1919, when the Latvian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference wound up its work, until 26 January 1921 Oļģerds Grosvalds performed delegate’s functions at the Paris Peace Conference and maintained contacts with the Supreme Allied Council. He organised all meetings in Paris for the Foreign Minister Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics and established a Latvian Legation in France.
The exposition has been organized by the Foreign Ministry in association with the Latvian National Museum of Art. The exposition draws its core materials from the Jāzeps Grosvalds memorial collection and is supplemented by documents from the Latvian State Historical Archives and the Political Archive of the Foreign Ministry. The display features unique materials: photographs, letters, postcards, sketches and diaries which all serve to reflect aspects of the creation of the foreign service, current processes in the art scene, and personal relationships. In a strikingly vivid language of the times, these exhibits reveal much about true patriots of Latvia who, through their erudite manner and commitment, served to create the state of Latvia as a particular national value.
The exhibition will be on display at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 27 January to 26 February. If interested in a tour, please apply to the Foreign Ministry Public Relations Department by telephone 67016447.