Mikas Šileikis

(1893 - 1987)


Mikas Šileikis was born in 1893 in Liminėlis, Zarasai District. He was one of the first Lithuanian artists in America. In 1913, avoiding the Russian tsarist military conscription, he came to the United States. He attended Boston Bigelow School, Belle Arts, later on – Boston School of Art. In 1923 he graduated from Chicago Institute of Art. Afterwards for one year he studied art in college of Christian Youth Association (YMCA). Until the new wave of immigrants after World War II Mikas Šileikis participated in exhibitions of Chicago Institute of Art, Indiana painters and Lithuanian diaspora. His works repeatedly won awards. He participated in activities of various art societies (Alumni Association of the School of the Art Institute, Union of Illinois Artists, Hoosiers Salon of Indiana). He was one of the initiators of Lithuanian Artists Association and founder of M. K. Čiurlionis Galleries in Chicago. In 19571962 he was the head of M. K. Čiurlionis Gallery. Mikas Šileikis collaborated while preparing Lithuanian version of the encyclopedia, wrote articles for "Aidai", "Naujoji Aušra", edited "Meno žinios". He died in 1987 in Chicago.


In 19181923 Mikas Šileikis studied at the Chicago Institute of Art. He painted portraits, landscapes (gardens, sea, dunes) carefully modelling the form, highlighting the picture. The author is a narrator of mood, state of nature, but he is not attempting to reveal their emotions. Mikas Šileikis by his colleagues was called the academic painter and lyrical impressionist. While studying at Chicago Institute of Art, famous for its classical traditions, he was evaluated by teachers as a great portraitist. The artist always loved the portrait genre, although the larger part of the collection, which arrived to Lithuania, consists of vivacious landscapes. Sunny dunes, beaches, forests, parks, flower beds, blooming gardens are perhaps the most favourite topics. Mikas Šileikis painted easily; his light and bright colour scale is rich and broad.