Adomas Varnas

(1879 - 1979)


Adomas Varnas was born on January 2, 1879, in Joniškis. He studied painting in Petrograd, Russia, and Krakow, Poland, until 1906. At that time he went to Geneva to attend the Academy of Art, from which he graduated with a "hors concours" degree. During a visit to Sicily he planned his first solo show. He has exhibited in Galizia, Poznane, and Zakopane, Poland. Since 1908 Adomas Varnas has exhibited with other Lithuanian artists in Vilnius and Kaunas. In 1920 he became a member of the Lithuanian Arts Creators' Association and until 1922 served as its president. The anniversary exhibition of his twenty years of creative work was held in 1927 in the Fine Arts Salon, and in 1937 in Kaunas and Joniškis, the thirtieth anniversary exhibition. Adomas Varnas was the author of the world first album of ethnographical photography “Lithuanian Crosses” (Lietuvos kryžiai, 2 volumes, 1926, Kaunas) about the unique Lithuanian folk art, cross crafting. In 1944 he emigrated to the United States, where he lived until his death (1979).


The works of Adomas Varnas include paintings, engravings, drawings, design of stamps and currency notes. He is also well known for his portraits and landscape paintings, lithographs, political cartoons, book illustrations. In addition, he was very active in organizing artistic life, schools of art and music, the first Lithuanian state theatre and M. K. Čiurlionis Art Gallery. His name is firmly engraved in the history of Lithuanian art and recognized both in contemporary Lithuania and in Western Lithuanian diasporas.