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Janis Kalmite papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IHRC1165


Papers (1973-1990) of Janis Kalmite consist of photocopied articles from Latvian publications documenting the life and artistic work of Janis Kalmite. Also included is a copy of University of Chicago research paper prepared by Lelde Kalmite, entitled "Janis Kalmite, Latvian Painter". There are also some photocopied articles from Latvian publications ("Karogs"/nr.3, 1990; "Skola un Gimene"/ nr. 6,1990; "Lauku Dzive"/nr. 6, 1990; "Maksla"/ nr. 4,1990; "Literatura un Maksla"/nr.34, 1990) relating to the life and artistic work of Janis Kalmite.


  • Creation: 1973-1990


Language of Materials

Latvian, English


Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

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Janis Kalmite was born on March 2, 1907 in Valmiera, Latvia. Kalmite`s early life was spent working on the land. His father was a carpenter and farmer and died in 1919. Through the assistance of relatives, Kalmite was able to go to the capital city of Riga and attend the National Academy of Fine Arts (1928- 1935). Professors who influenced his painting the most were J.R.Tillbergs, igurative painting,and G.Eliass-Belgian,expressionism and landscape painting. Kalmite became noted for his expressionists style paintings of landscape scenery. He worked also as a lecturer in the Riga State University and was active in the Department of Education, organizing and participating in exibitions. Between 1937 and 1944, he joined the "Muksaliesi" group of young modern painters. He fled Latvia during World War II and lived in Germany (French occupied zone) for 6 years. Kalmite immigrated to the U.S. in 1950 and settled in Minneapolis. He worked different kinds of night jobs (until his retirement in 1972) in order to have the daylight hours for painting. Kalmite has kept himself apart from American culture as much as possible but remained active within the Latvian community. To Latvians all over the world, he is known as the " Master of Rija"( rija- building which was a part of Latvian homestead for centuries used for drying harvested crops)--the theme which preoccupied him ever since he left Latvia. He has also painted landscapes (most in morning or evening light), still life, flowers, nudes, and occasional portraits. Latest works contained a national ethnic symbolism theme. He painted fairly large and decorative oil paintings, and his paintings have been exiibited widely in Europe and particulary in the U.S. Kalmite died in 1990(?). He had two daughters, Lelde Kalmite and Guna Kalmite Skujina.


1 linear inch


The papers of Janis Kalmite were given to the IHRC on December 6, 1990 by Lelde Kalmite (the artist`s daughter) of Minneapolis.

Inventory of the Janis Kalmite papers.
IHRC Archives
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding Aid in English

Collecting Area Details

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