Antanas Rūkštelė

(1906 - 1990)


Antanas Rūkštelė was born on October 22, 1906 in Degučiai, Zarasai district. In 1928 he finished school in Kaunas. In 1929 he graduated from Kaunas Art School. Later he studied painting privately with J. Kalpokas and J. Mackevičius. In 19281929 he studied Advanced information technologies. In 1926–1936 he studied history and philosophy at Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University. In 1934, after he received Swedish Baltic Institute (Stockholm) scholarship, he finished the course of ethnology and museology. In 19261936 he was a curator in M. K. Čiurlionis Gallery and Museum. In 19361944 he was a board member of Vytautas the Great Museum of Culture and an instructor of Lithuanian National History Museum. Antanas Rūkštelė with his wife Elena and three children fled Lithuania and made their way to Germany. Two years later he established an art school in Dillingen and was its director and teacher until 1949. He and his family left Germany for Australia in 1949. They were transferred to Woodside migrant camp in the Adelaide hills. There he held his first solo exhibition of watercolours in Australia, most of which he had painted in Germany. Antanas Rūkštelė held a number of solo exhibitions in Australia in 1950, 1952, 1953, in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. In 1955 he came to the United States. He worked as a teacher in various Lithuanian schools. With others, he founded the World’s Lithuanian Artists and Architects Union. From 1961 he was the president of American-Lithuanian Artists Association. He died on October 5, 1990 in California, USA.


Antanas Rūkštelė was a painter, art historian, ethnographer and founder of an art school in Germany. He painted realistic landscapes, figurative compositions, created book illustrations, made design for performances. The artist was able to easily find motives of Lithuanian spirit in nature.