Antanas Tamošaitis

(1906 - 2005)


Antanas Tamošaitis was born in Lithuania in 1906 in Barzdos, Šakiai District. In 1929 he graduated from Kaunas School of Art and remained to lecture there for the next two years. From 1931 to 1940 he served in the Chamber of Agriculture as director of the folk art and domestic industry section and travelled throughout the country, studying folk weavings and their techniques. During this time he published thirteen studies on Lithuanian folk art. In 1936 he had his first exhibition of tapestries in the Cultural Museum in Kaunas. A. Tamošaitis has won gold medals for his tapestries at the international expositions in Paris (1937), Berlin (1938), and New York (1939).
After World War II he lived in Germany. From 1946 to 1949 he lectured at the Ecole des Arts et Metiers in Freiburg. In 1949 he arrived in Canada, settling in Montreal. For a year he was the director of the Academy of Arts and Crafts at the local Y.M.C.A. In 1950 he established his home and studio near Kingston, Ontario, and devoted himself entirely to his art. In 1989 he moved to Ganaoque, Ontario.
Antanas Tamošaitis participated in many group shows in France, Germany, Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, and the United States, and had one-person shows: in Montreal (1949, 1971), Chicago (1962, 1963), Philadelphia (1964, 1980), Ottawa, Ontario (1964, 1965, 1966), Kingston, Ontario (1965, 1984), Detroit (1966, 1984), Toronto (1967, 1976), Sarnia, Ontario (1968), Windsor, Ontario (1969), Washington, D.C. (1970), Boston (1971), Brampton, Ontario (1982), Mississauga, Ontario (1974, 1981), Winnipeg, Massachusetts (1974), Hamilton, Ontario (1975), Brooklyn, New York (1981), Chicago (1986).
Antanas Tamošaitis authored several volumes on Lithuanian folk art, including “Lithuanian Easter Eggs“ (Toronto, 1982), and co-authored with Anastazija Tamošaitis (Tamošaitienė) „Lithuanian National Costume“ (Toronto, 1979) and „Lithuanian Sashes“ (Toronto, 1986).


Antanas Tamošaitis works are in oils, lithographs, and watercolours. Over the years he has developed a highly personal style based on a synthesis of modern abstract elements and Lithuanian folk art motifs. In most of his recent pictures he uses a very distinct compositional framework reminiscent of frost patterns on a window pane, by which his work can immediately be recognized. On this intricately woven framework he paints figures and subjects found in Lithuanian folk tales, legends, or plastic art.
Antanas Tamošaitis is also one with nature. The "weaving" patterns of his frosted line motifs approximate the natural growth of a vine or a branch. Here the symmetry of a perfect geometric pattern gives way to the chaotic paths of twisting twigs or running rain water. The false moves in growth remain uncultured. These elements, no doubt, have been derived also from his lifestyle as an outdoor person, preferring to live and work in countryside surroundings rather than in city-like dwellings.