The Activities of the Dailė Cooperative in 1941–1945: The Organisation of Art Life in Lithuania Under the Occupational Regimes

Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis


  • Rasa Dargužaitė



Dailė Cooperative, Soviet occupation, Nazi occupation, organisation of Lithuanian art


The paper discusses the history of the Dailė Cooperative, the need and circumstances of its founding, its structure and activities. The cooperative operated (1941–45) during a highly turbulent period in Lithuania, when one occupational regime followed another, and World War II took place. The activity of this cooperative was important in that it built a concentrated production base (workshops with equipment, materials, etc.), handled orders, and coordinated the purchase and sale of works of professional and folk art. The Dailė Cooperative was modelled after the Soviet Art Fund, which, by means of centralizing material support (materials, tools, distribution of orders, and remuneration for work) provided to artists, controlled the creation of artworks. It should be noted that the founding and activities of the Dailė Cooperative were closely related to the Marginiai company, which was established in the interwar period to support folk art and home industry. The Dailė Cooperative took over its infrastructure as regimes changed; the company’s facilities were used, and nationalised workshops were merged into it. The cooperative brought together artists and folk artists, handled the sales of their works, held workshops, provided financial support, and contributed to the organisation of exhibitions. The activities of the Dailė Cooperative partly reflect the structure of the art scene in the period of occupation, the mechanism of its functioning, and the nature of the need for art and its consumption. The Dailė Cooperative was established during the first Soviet occupation, and its activities were not suspended, restricted, or terminated during the Nazi occupation. This shows that the institution of this type and the principle of its operation (centralised management) were acceptable to both regimes. After the war, the Dailė Cooperative became the basis for the Dailė manufactories, which were founded in 1945 and operated throughout the period of the second Soviet occupation.

Author Biography

Rasa Dargužaitė

is an art historian, from 2021 a doctoral student of Art History in the joint programme of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. She is currently preparing her thesis Lithuanian Dailė Art Production Factories in 1945–1991: The Aspects and Contexts of Lithuanian Design. Her areas of research include: design and its contexts in Soviet Lithuania, and organizational activities of art production companies that operated in that period. She is author and compiler of Meno pramonė. „Dailės” kombinatų veikla [Art Industry: The Activities Of Dailė Art Production Factories] (2020), and has written several scholarly and popular articles.



How to Cite

Dargužaitė, R. (2023). The Activities of the Dailė Cooperative in 1941–1945: The Organisation of Art Life in Lithuania Under the Occupational Regimes: Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis. Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis, (110-111), 486–521.