A woman in Art



Preili Museum of History and Applied Arts (Latvia) and Panevezys Local Lore Museum (Lithuania) joint virtual exhibition – “A woman in Art”.



Preili Museum of History and Applied Arts


Sculptor Evi Upeniece


Born in 1925 in Riga in the family of Eduards Upenieks, a master of the Sarkandaugava veneer factory from Preiļi, and Leida Upeniece (Oina), an Estonian. In 1952, she graduated from the Sculpture Department of the Latvian State Academy of Arts, where she studied at the founders of Latvian sculpture - Teodors Zaļkalns, Emīls Melders, Kārlis Zemdegs.


The artist has worked in all genres of sculpture and has paid special attention to standing sculpture and decorative sculpture. E. Upeniece is one of the old masters of sculpture of the second half of the 20th century and the author of new art ideas of her time. Working in still life and small forms, during her long years of work, Evi Upeniece has created works that are imbued with tenderness and at the same time strong spirit. The artist focuses on the theme of mother and child, lyrical and harmonious figures, women - guardians, workers, nurses, actresses.


Since 1953 E. Upeniece has been participating in group exhibitions in Latvia and abroad. She has had more than 20 solo exhibitions in many museums and galleries in Latvia, Denmark and Russia. Evi Upeniece's works are in the collections of museums in Latvia, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, as well as in private collections in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the USA.


The Preili Museum of History and Applied Art has had a successful collaboration with Evi Upeniece since 2012, when the sculptor donated her first works in chamotte and plaster to the museum: Asnate, The River, Salaspils Madonna, Memorial, Mother with a Child. The sculptor donated another 8 plaster sculptures to the museum in 2019. The gift is located in the chapel of Preiļi manor. This was the statement of Evi Upeniece - so that her works “do not accumulate dust” in the collection, but are available to everyone who enjoys art.


On August 19, 2021, at the Riga Castle, President Egils Levits presented the Order of the Three Stars to Evi Upeniece for her lifelong contribution to art and the care of Latvian sculptural traditions.


1. Asnāte. Plaster. 55 x 25 x 40 cm. 2010.




2. Salaspils Madonna. Plaster. 70 x 31 x 35 cm. 1981.




3. Brochure “Ēvī Upeniece”. The brochure was sent by the sculptor to the staff of the Preili History and Applied Art Museum with greetings on November 18, 2020.






Panevėžys Local Lore museum


Actress Regina Zdanavičiūtė


Regina Zdanavičiūtė (1925–2015) had dedicated more than 60 years of her life to the “Juozas Miltinis Drama Theatre” (until 1995 “Panevėžys Drama Theatre”).


The Drama Theater in Panevėžys was founded in 1940. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was famous not only in Lithuania, but also in the whole Soviet Union and abroad. The director Juozas Miltinis, who had been managing the theater since its foundation until 1980, has directed performances that are now inprinted in the history of the theater and he has learned many talented actors, including R. Zdanavičiūtė.


The future actress was born in Kaunas on June 12, 1925. Her Father, Jonas Zdanavičius, was a military court judge, and her mother was from the Caucasus. Later, when J. Zdanavičius received a new position, whole family moved to Marijampolė, where Regina was taught privately by the wife of a soldier and nuns.


Soon J. Zdanavičius was designated vice-chairman of the Panevėžys Regional Court and the family had to move to Panevėžys. Here R. Zdanavičiūtė studied at the Girls' Gymnasium, where the poet Salomėja Nėris taught Lithuanian language and literature and German language at that time. While studying in gymnasium, R. Zdanavičiūtė started attending a theater acting studio led by director J. Miltinis. In 1943 she was admitted to the Panevėžys Drama Theater, where she worked until 2005.


The actress loved poetry, she was characterized as a person, who has strong stage energy, courage, a sense of humor, and innate aristocracy. R. Zdanavičiūtė has created about 120 different roles. The most significant of these roles are Maria Antonovna (N. Gogol “Revizor”, dir. J. Miltinis, 1946), Madam Vasar (E. Zolia “Heirs of Raburden”, dir. J. Miltinis, 1953), Natalia Petrovna (I. Turgenev “A Month in the Village”, dir. J. Alekna, G. Karka, 1957), Baroness de Champigni (E. Labišas “Straw Hat” dir. J. Miltinis, 1959), Vasiluca (J. Druce “Kasa Mare”, dir. V. Blėdis, 1962), Lina Rozė (F. Durrenmatt “Physicists”, dir. J. Miltinis, 1967), Boba Vienaakė (“Devynbėdžiai”, Directed by J. Blėdis, 1974), Melisa Gardner (A. R. Gurney “Letters of Love”, dir. R. Banionis, 1998), Lucy Cooper (K. Rapoport's “The Rest is Silence”, dir. A. Kėleris, 2000).


Actress R. Zdanavičiūtė created bright and memorable roles in movies and television films: Marcinkienė (“Niekas nenorėjo mirti” (eng. “Nobody Wanted to Die”), dir., 1966), Mother (“Naktys ne nakvynės” (eng. “Nightswithout a place to sleep”), dir. A. Araminas, G. Karka, 1966), Liutkuvienė (“Mainai” (eng. “Exchange”), dir. R. Vabalas, 1977), Jūraitienė (“Vilius Karalius”, (eng. “King Vilius”), dir. V. Bačiulis, 1988) and others.


In 1974 R. Zdanavičiūtė was awarded the title of Meritorious Artist of the LSSR and in 1985 was awarded the Name of the LSSR folk artist. In 2002 the actress was rated the most deserving citizen of Panevėžys in the field of arts.


1. Actors Regina Zdanavičiūtė (Kanina) and Bronius Babkauskas (Moska) in the play “Testament of a Scammer” (B. Johnson, “Volponė”, dir. J. Miltinis, 1956). Photo by K. Vitkus.




2. Actors Regina Zdanavičiūtė (Roza Aleksandrovna Pesočinskaja) and Gediminas Karka (Nikolai Mikhailovich Chmutin) in the play „Retro“ (A. Galinas, dir. Julius Dautartas, 1982). Photo by K. Vitkus. Kazimieras Vitkus Foundation of G. Petkevičaitė-Bitė Public Library of Panevėžys City.




3. “Juozas Miltinis was able to attract people so much that everyone trusted him very much.” Regina Zdanavičiūtė. Postcard from the set “Bonjour, maestro”. Photo by S. Bagdonavičius. Public Institution “Dermė”, 2014.






This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Preili County council and Panevėžys Local Lore Museum and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.



About the project ENI-LLB-1-244 “Promotion of historical and culture cross border through museums innovations

The project aims to build a cross border cooperation platform creating preconditions for ensuring the increasing interest of tourists and visitors about the cultural and historical heritage in the border area of Latvia and Lithuania.


This project is funded by the European Union

Project budget: 367 864.64 EUR, EU funding 331 078.17 EUR

Project implementation period: 1st of June 2020 – 31st of May 2022

European Neighbourhood Instrument Cross-border Cooperation Programme Latvia-Lithuania 2014-2020








Information prepared by:

Preili Museum of History and Applied Arts: https://preili.lv/nozares/kultura/muzeji/preilu-vestures-un-lietiskas-makslas-muzejs/ 

Panevėžys Local Lore Museum: http://www.paneveziomuziejus.lt/