Martins Krumins Latvian-American Impressionist
About Mārtiņš Krūmiņš
Photograph of the private art studio of S. Vinogradova in Riga, Latvia, circa 1934. Martins Krumins is the first one on the right, behind the large drawing board.
My uncle, Martins Krumins, was born on March 2, 1900, in Riga Latvia. He had a younger sister and an even younger brother, my father, Roberts Krumins. My father told me many stories of their early life in Riga, near the beach, including many escapades and pranks in which Martins was usually the leader. They would shimmy up trees to get birds' eggs for their collection, popping them into their mouths to keep them from breaking on the way down. They would run down the boardwalk after the Chinaman with the long pigtail and pull it and run away. They would use their sling-shots to break the glass sphere yard ornaments that were just becoming popular at that time. My father often recalled the satisfying sound as they shattered.
Martins Krumins was absolutely devoted to his work, in a way that is sometimes hard to understand. He spent years studying colors and he was particularly fascinated by the subtle, muted colors of Winter, of rainy days, of dawn and evening. He could paint a rainy day on the swamp in the middle of Winter and when I look at it, I can almost feel the cold and wet and gloom. There was something magical about these landscapes for my uncle, and he expressed this with his paintings.
Our entire family came to the United States from the refugee camp in 1950; Martins and his wife Wilhelmina, who we call Mara, my father Robert, by mother Larisa and myself, a three-year old waiflike little girl at that time.
Martins Krumins' work captures, or expresses, a time and way of life and way of being that is lost now. It is interesting that this most modern of noisy media -- the Internet, with all its computers -- can now be used to show you this glimpse into that time and also to show you something of the way Martins Krumins lived and saw the world.
Martins Krumins darning socks in the refugee camp in Germany.
Landscape Master Workshop at the Latvian Art Academy, 1942.
First row from left: M. Krumins, Prof. V. Purvitis, M. Leitlande
Second row from left: P. Strautmanis, N. Kremanis, J. Skucs, D. Godickis-Cvirko
At Martins Krumins' Exhibit in New York City
at the "Daugavas Vanaga" Hall in the Bronx
Standing on left: Fridrichs Milts
Front row left: August Annus
With carnation: Martins Krumins
Front row right: Janis Silins