Wiiralt Eduard

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Eduard Wiiralt (1898–1954) (Viiralt)

Eduard Wiiralt (real name Eduard Viiralt, 1898, Saint Petersburg Governorate – 1954, Paris) was a well-known Estonian graphic artist.

In art history, Wiiralt is considered as the most remarkable master of Estonian graphic art in the first half of his century; the most well-known of his works include „Inferno”, „Cabaret”, „Heads of Negroes”, „Sleeping Tiger” and „Head of a Camel”.

Eduard Wiiralt was born in the St. Petersburg province as a son of estate servants. In 1909, the family moved to Estonia, where the father was employed in the Varangu estate in the Järva County. Wiiralt did not graduate from the Tallinn Art Trade School due to the start of the German occupation and revolution.

Viiralt continued his studies in Tartu in Pallas in the sculpture studio of Anton Starkopf in 1919. The studies were interrupted by participating in the Estonian War of Independence.

In 1922–1923, Wiiralt continued his studies, as a grantee of Pallas, in the Dresden Academy of Art in Germany under the supervision of Professor Selmar Werner. Wiiralt returned to Tartu in the fall of 1923. In 1924, Wiiralt graduated from Pallas as a graphic artist and a sculptor, and for a while, he worked there as a lecturer.

In the years 1925–1939, he lived in Paris, but returned to Estonia thereafter. He survived the II World War in Estonia. Wiiralt left for Sweden in 1945. The artist ultimately returned to Paris in the fall of 1946. At the end, he lived in the southern part of the city. Eduard Wiiralt died at the age of 55 in Paris, in the Danncourt hospital due to gastric cancer and was buried in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery for famous people on 12 January 1954.