Johannes Mikkel (1907–2006) was one of the most remarkable art collectors in Estonia. His extensive collection of more than six hundred objects, including older paintings and prints from Western Europe, as well as ceramics from Europe, Russia and Asia, was assembled in Soviet Estonia at the time when dealing in art was considered a controversial and even suspicious activity. Even though Johannes Mikkel lived in a typical Soviet block of flats, he managed to surround himself with the ambience of a 19th-century manor house: his home was furnished with antique furniture, the walls were completely covered with paintings in gilded frames, porcelain and crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling halfway to the floor and the display cabinets boasted a collection of Meissen porcelain figurines.
In the 1990s, Johannes Mikkel decided to give his unique collection to the Republic of Estonia on the condition that it be displayed in a museum of its own. In the midsummer of 1997, a museum dedicated to the art collection of Johannes Mikkel was opened in the former kitchen building of Kadriorg Palace to permanently house also the works of art currently on display there. In connection with the exhibition of Mart Lepp’s art collection in the Mikkel Museum and because of the cancellation of a major exhibition in the Kadriorg Art Museum due to the emergency situation, an extraordinary opportunity arose to show selected works from Johannes Mikkel’s collection in the majestic rooms of this historic palace. For a number of items, this is a return to the type of interiors for which they were originally intended, while for others it is a chance for a grand visit.
Curator: Greta Koppel
Exhibition design: Mari Kurismaa
Graphic design: Külli Kaats