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Palaima, Vytautas Kazttairovich (Paláima, Vytautas Kazio)

Палайма, Витаутас Казттаирович

Born August 8, 1911, St. Petersburg, Russian Empire; died February 14, 1976, Vilnius, Lithuanian SSR

Vytautas Kazttairovich Palaima was a noted theater scenographer, painter, and graphic artist from the Lithuanian SSR. Although Palaima was born in St. Petersburg, in 1919 he moved to Lithuania with his family. From 1926 to 1931 he studied painting at the Kaunas Art School and from 1930 to 1933, he furthered his artistic education by studying in the private studio of Mstislav Dobužinskis, a master painter of Lithuania known for his cityscapes. Palaima created scenery for plays and operas in Lithuania before and after the Soviet incursions and German occupation of World War II. Having decorated over one hundred musical and dramatic performances throughout his career, his designs set him apart from other artists of his era.

From 1932 to 1935, he was an artist in residence at the Šiauliai Drama Theater and from 1935 to 1939 he worked with the Klaipėda Theater. During the 1940s, Palaima was Lead Artist of the Vilnius Drama Theater and later held the same position in the Lithuanian SSR Drama Theater. The artist also illustrated numerous books including: work by Antanas Vienuolis-Žukauskas (Lithuanian writer and dramatist); "Lithuanian Folk Dances" by the ethnographer Mikalina Glemžaitė; “Lithuanian Folk Tales” by Užburta Karalystė, and the artist also published a postcard series titled "Lithuanian National Clothes”. In addition to graphic design, on occasion he designed clothing for the state ensemble from 1945 to 1960. From 1944 to 1976, Palaima taught at the Vilnius State Art Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts (a.k.a., Academy of Arts).

In 1947, Vytautas Palaima was bestowed the title of Meritorious Artist of the Lithuanian SSR. In 1954, he was accorded the honorary title of Lithuanian Folk Artist. From 1951 to 1957, Palaima served as the Dean of the Art Institute (at Vilnius), and from 1957 to 1963 he was its Vice-Rector. Beyond his art and his duties as a teacher, Vytautas Palaima was a deputy on the Vilnius City Council. As a member of the Lithuanian SSR Artists’ Union, he was chairman of the section for theater artists and a member of the union’s presidium. He also was a member of the Republican Council of Exhibitions for the Lithuanian SSR. In 1976, Vytautas Palaima died and was buried in Antakalnis cemetery, Vilnius.


Solov'ev, V. D. (2005). Russkie khudozhniki XVIII-XX vekov: svodnyi spisok khudozhnikov, vstrechaiushchikhsia v spravochnoi literature. Moskva: Ekspert-klub. (p. 271, artist’s middle name cited)
Demchenko, E. P., & Shleev, V.V. (1969). Leniniana: estetika i izobrazitelʹnoe iskusstvo. Annotirovannyĭ ukazatelʹ literatury 1956-1967. Moscow: Sovetskii khudozhnik. (p. 266, artist’s middle name cited) (artist’s full Lithuanian name cited) (bio)