Latvian National Museum of Art
This historicism style building was constructed between 1903 and 1905, and was the first building in the Baltics specially constructed as a museum. It is also interesting to point out that the building’s architect Wilhelm Neumann (1849-1919) was also the first director of the museum.
In 1919, the notable Latvian painting professor Vilhelms Purvītis (1872-1945) replaced Neumann, who ran the museum until 1940 and during this time was able to gather a considerable collection of Latvian art. The Latvian National Museum of Art is the largest art museum in Latvia, and its collection consists of over 52,000 pieces of Latvian, Baltic and Russian paintings and other pieces of art. The building had stood for 107 year without any major renovation works, until 2013 when a major reconstruction project was launched. The museum re-opened its doors to visitors on May 4, 2016, on Latvian Restoration of Independence Day. The building was completely renovated and reconstructed, and the museum itself was also considerably expanded during the works – and underground extension was added with a new exhibition hall and depository, as well as additional exhibition space in the building’s attic. A museum restaurant has also been opened.
Good to know
The Latvian National Museum of Art organization actually consists of four museums and one exhibition space: the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Riga Bourse Art Museum of Foreign Art, the Museum of Decorative Art and Design, the Romans Suta and Aleksandra Beļcova Museum, as well as the Arsenāls exhibition space.