The Activities of the Dailė Cooperative in 1941–1945: The Organisation of Art Life in Lithuania Under the Occupational Regimes
Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis
Keywords: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.