- Lilly (Caroline) Walther as an Artist-Restorer
- Tutor: Hilkka Hiiop (PhD) and Grete Nilp (MA)
Caroline Auguste Bertha Walther, who was known popularly as an artist as Lilly Walther (1866–1946) was one of the first professional art restorers in Estonia, a renowned applied artist and a productive visual artist who, however, has thus far been mention in art history only in passing, if at all. The Tartu Art Museum preserves Walther’s exceptionally large heritage that was left in her studio after her deportation to Siberia in 1945. Thousands of items of archive materials, about 600 original artworks (oil paintings, watercolours, drawings, sketches and designs) and nearly 400 works by other authors have been preserved. Researching Walther’s heritage was not considered important during the Soviet era both because of Walther’s German roots and the amount of work this entailed.
The present master’s thesis a symbiosis of empiric research of the heritage of the artist-restorer Lilly Walther and the author’s creative project of communicating Walther’s heritage, curating an exhibition and publishing a catalogue. This was preceded by practical archive work of sorting, systematising and organising the heritage. The main method of collecting data for the thesis was the use of various archive documents, previously published literature, notes on Lilly Walther’s artworks and texts from different items (e.g. correspondence and official documents) from her archive. As a result of this research, a thorough exhibition took place and a monograph was published.