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Latvia is the home of numerous professional artists and it boasts a very saturated market for art. Visitors can view and acquire truly first-grade artworks in Latvia, and often at very favourable prices. Magnificent artworks, jewellery and textiles may also be viewed and purchased in the many art galleries.
In Old Riga there is an art gallery virtually on every little street, many of which also host exhibitions that do not require an entrance fee. There is no shortage of art galleries outside Old Riga either: they can be found throughout Riga, as well as in other Latvian towns and cities.
Latvian artists consider the Rīgas galerija, located not far from the Freedom Monument, to be the most prestigious exhibition site.
Its collection contains both high-quality work by old masters and products of contemporary artists. Works from this gallery have been sold at Sotheby’s in London, while others have been listed for the Sovereign European Art Prize for 2009-2010. Here you will definitely find good world-class art and knowledgeable art scholars.
Also, the gallery Daugava on Alksnāja iela regularly arranges high-class art exhibitions. Small, yet featuring an intense schedule of quality exhibitions, is the gallery Asūna. You will definitely find good art at the galleries Māksla XO, Birkenfelds, Ivonnas Veihertes galerija, Antonija and in the Riga Art Space, the spacious exhibition hall located beneath the Riga City Hall. "Pinakotēka", a museum of happy art, is one of the most modern galleries and is located on the way to the Riga Airport in Mārupe.
If you are interested in textile art, we recommend a visit to the arts and handicrafts gallery Consentio at R. Vāgnera iela 5. There, you will find good art ranging from black-and-white graphic art, to tapestries, and even to artistic clothing accessories. The gallery Istaba is stuffed with stylishly peculiar jewellery and interior accessories. Some of the objects here are products of the gallery itself, some are artists’ original work. The owner of Istaba, the artist Linda Lūse, regularly invites artists to create artwork relating to a special monthly theme: from clocks to bags to poetry to household items.
At least once a year, special themed exhibitions are arranged to which dozens of artists representing various areas are invited, rendering the shows even more intriguing (painted trays, doll houses, artist-made clocks, brooms and dustpans, home slippers). The Istaba Buffet is located on the top floor of the gallery which is the domain of the popular and admired chef and TV star Mārtiņš Sirmais and his team. The special food events – dinners at the Istaba – only start after 6 p.m.
At the gallery Tornis near St. Peter’s Church, one can view the largest collection of ancient jewellery in Latvia; here you will also find information on wearing the ancient jewellery and its significance. PUTTI is an art gallery in Riga that was founded with the purpose of promoting contemporary Latvian jewellery design and work by jewellery designers both locally and internationally. The jewellery exhibited at the gallery is uniquely hand-crafted, executed in silver and gold, using precious and semi-precious stones, a mammoth’s tusk and ebony.
There is no shortage of galleries in other towns either. There is the Gallery Laipa in Valmiera. In Jelgava, at the gallery Suņa taka at Dobeles iela 68, regular exhibitions are held; in the salon Pils putns, one can find charming, unique and original gifts and various surprises at reasonable prices. In Liepāja,the art gallery Promenāde awaits anyone who passes through the doors of the designer hotel: its layout on the ground floor of the historic building is unusual and surprising. At the gallery, one can purchase paintings, black-and-white graphic art, art photographs and various objects of applied art. In Jūrmala, unusual sensations can be achieved at the gallery Inner Light where the paintings of Vitālijs Jermolajevs, executed in a unique technique, are on view. Under special lighting they begin to glow and the spectator is exposed to a seemingly hidden version of the painting being viewed.
In the eastern part of Latvia, art can be enjoyed at the Art Gallery of Daugavpils University where a new art exhibition is opened every month. The gallery is located in the Faculty of Music and Arts building.