The series "Classics of Latvian Art" presents a book about legendary figure of 1920s–30s Riga Voldemārs Irbe (1893–1944).
Voldemārs Irbe, popularly known as ‘Barefoot Irbīte’, is an artist whose distinctive, inimitable mode of expression introduced into art a naïve perception of the world, one that convincingly conveyed his outlook.
Intuitively appreciating and applying the advantages of pastel, he revealed the true potential and strengths of the medium, demonstrating its unique character and its right to a place among other media of painting.
Voldemārs Irbe’s original style and techniques emerged already in the early 20s, and his skill with pastels developed over time, the techniques becoming more diverse and complicated. In the paintings, his feelings and mental states correlate with the stylised rhythms of the depiction, consisting of boldly coordinated areas of colour, lines, hatching and vivid accents.
As his individual hand developed, the thematic range of Irbe’s work also diversified. It included genre scenes, where he himself was present, scenes from nature that he found attractive and flowers, which particularly delighted him. Irbe depicted what he saw and what seemed worthy of attention: church services, inns, craftsmen’s workshops, poor people’s hovels, the bustle of the market and the streets.
The series "Classics of Latvian Art" includes books of medium size, offering an easily perceptible information about Latvian classical artists and their works. Similar to the "STUDIJA Library" the series "Classics of Latvian Art" is intended as bilingual (Latvian/English), richly illustrated publications. An attractive supplement at the end of each book is a timeline where the life of Latvian artists can be viewed within the context of world events, revealing connections, parallels or just interesting coincidences.