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Mērija Journey. The Grosvalds Family Story

From 7 September to 24 November, 2019, the Cupola hall and the 4th floor halls of the Latvian National Museum of Art will be hosting an interdisciplinary exhibition Mērija’s Journey. The Grosvalds Family Story.

Through the story of the illustrious Rigan family, the exhibition introduces the audience to both the fate of the family members and the history and culture of the state of Latvia spanning a hundred years. The centrepiece of the exhibition is museum employee Mērija Grīnberga Jr. (1909-1975), who managed to safeguard a large part of Latvian museums’ treasures and bring them back to Riga from Germany, where they had been taken shortly before the end of the Second World War. Conceptually the exhibition coincides with the documentary Mērija’s Journey by Kristīne Želve, however, Mērija’s personal life story has been expanded to mark significant events in the lives of her extended family and the history of Latvia.

The authors of the exhibition have chosen a personal and intimate tone to tell this story of Latvian history. Mērija Grīnberga Sr.’s diary, childhood drawings of Mērija Grīberga Jr. and her brother, the mathematician Emanuels Grīnbergs, a selection of works of art by Jāzeps Grosvalds, faded photos, family relics and a range of museum items safeguarded by Mērija are some of the exhibits that will narrate the Grosvalds family story.

The exhibition will feature a large number of items pertaining to the Grosvalds family from different museums in Latvia. Those include the Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga History and Navigation Museum, the National Archives of Latvia, Piebalga museum society Orisāre, as well as private collections. The exhibitors would like to highlight their collaboration with Värmlands Museum in Karlstad, Sweden. Twenty-one works by Jāzeps Grosvalds from his cycles “The Riflemen” and “The East” will be exhibited in Latvia for the first time. They arrived in Sweden after the Second World War and are now part of the museum’s collection there.

Along with Mērija Grīnberga Jr., other illustrious members of the family include her mother Mērija Grīnberga Sr. (1881-1973), a researcher and popularizer of Latvian ethnography; Frīdrihs Grosvalds (1850-1924), a lawyer and long-term head of the Riga Latvian Society; his wife Marija Grosvalde (1857-1936), and their children and grandchildren - Oļģerds Grosvalds (1884-1962), a diplomat and ambassador of Latvia to France; Jāzeps Grosvalds (1891-1920), a painter; Līna Grosvalde (1887-1974) and Margarēta Ternberga (née Grosvalde, 1895-1982), both foreign service employees, Emanuels Grīnbergs (1911-1982), a mathematician.

The creative team of the exhibition: the curator and author Kristīne Želve, the artist Ieva Stūre, the curator Ieva Kalnača, and the project manager Katrīna Vastlāve.

The exhibition project has won the support of the State Culture Capital Foundation through the culture project competition Latvijai 100.

The exhibition is also supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Latvia, Latvian embassies in Sweden and France, Riga City Council, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, National Library of Latvia, Jānis Zuzāns