Vytautas O. Virkau
Vytautas has left us; the acorns he has planted remain ever green
Vytautas Osvaldas Virkau, the ex-pat Lithuanian artist and botanist,
died in Chicago at the age of 87 years, on the 18th of August 2017.
Lithuanian community in Chicago, as well as his
Lithuania knew him as a unique and individualistic painter, with
art exhibits across the USA and Europe, and also through his love of
botany. During his lifetime, he planted many trees. One of his most
prominent projects, begun more than thirty years ago, has been the
planting of acorns from
ąžuolas. At 1500-2000 years old, the
oak is the oldest oak tree in Lithuania, and one of the oldest in
Seedlings from this grand oak have now grown
into trees in Chicago and the surrounding vicinity, near Lithuanian
centers, including the Balzekas
Museum of Lithuanian Culture, and in
Vytautas has on many occasions remarked that, had he remained in
Lithuania, he would have become a biologist. However, having found
himself far from his birthplace, he chose a different path: art studies.
At the close of World War II, V. Virkau and his parents fled Lithuania
and for a while lived in
Munich, where he
finished high school in 1949. After a few years, the Virkau family
emigrated to the USA. Vytautas studied at the
Art Institute of Chicago, where
he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1955 and a Master of Fine Arts in
1956, specializing in painting and graphics.
Vytautas taught art at the
YMCA of Metro Chicago from 1954 to 1964, and from 1961 to 1985
was a professor of art at
George Williams College. From 1986 through 1995, he was a professor
and the chair of the art school at
College in Naperville, Illinois. He refined his talents at the
Lorado Taft Midway Studios during 1966-1969. From 1970 onwards,
he was the arts editor and graphic designer for the Lithuanian
Vytautas O. Virkau was a prolific designer of
more than 400 ex-libris.
The first of these was created in 1970, on the occasion of a large
donation of books from the Lithuanian-American community to the
University of Vilnius on the occasion of it's 400 anniversary.
He has designed and illustrated more than 50 books. He exhibited
in many international ex-libris exhibitions, including the 7th thru 10th
Biennial Exhibition of Modern Ex-Libris in Poland, and the
15th through 17th
International Ex-libris Congress.
He has mounted solo exhibitions in Chicago, Los Angeles, Trenton, and
Ottawa, and in Lithuania, in
He has been awarded medals at the 7th, 8th and 10th International
Biennial Exhibition, among many other prizes and awards.
In these last years, V. Virkau was no longer painting, but remained very
busy. He was translating all of the letters and correspondence of the
famous Lithuanian literary scientist and essayist
Algirdas Greimas, in preparation for a
book about Greimas organized by Thomas Broden.
- Ode to
Walden Pond - The Art of Vytautas O. Virkau LITUANUS
LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 54, No 1 - Spring 2008 (mirror)
- THE ART
OF VYTAUTAS O. VIRKAU LITUANUS
LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 10, No.3-4 - Fall and Winter 1964
Osvaldas Virkau Ex Libris Stasys Pilka (We Are Such Stuff as Dreams Are)
BOOKPLATES LITUANUS LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 26, No. 4 - Winter 1980
- Vytautas O. Virkau
Frederikshavn Kunstmuseum & Exlibrissamling.
Collection of Bookplates by Vytautas O. Virkau Yale University
Library Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections
- Vytautas O.
Virkau Ex libris Numismaticis and
O. Virkau (USA) Exlibris Artshop
Virkau Osvaldas Vytautas Radviliškio rajono viešoji biblioteka.
- Chicago Review
Spring 1957 Issue 11:01 Contributor — Vytautas O. Virkau,Thomas
Mann, Richard Tyler, Philip Roth, Donald Hall, John Logan, Leonard
Nathan, Isabella Gardner, Victor Contoski, Robert S. Sward, Peter
Miller, George Lee, June Leef, Walter Toman, Frank London Brown, Jay
Pell, Cosmo Campoli, Malcolm De Chazal, Irving Rosenthal, Elder Olson,
Richard Tyler, Robert Baker, D.R. Anderson, Barbara Graymont, Garry
Virkau Papers, approximately 1966-approximately 2003
Consists mainly of correspondence, exhibition materials, ex libris
examples, and periodicals relating to bookplates. The Newberry Chicago
Independent Research Library. Modern Wing MS Virkau
of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Vytautas Virkau Papers.
This is an alternate record of the material held at Newberry
Library. Recorded as: Unprocessed. 2 boxes of material consisting
of correspondence, 1970s-1995; material relating to exhibitions,
1966-2003; clippings; and material relating to Virkau’s work as a
Vezys Bookplate Collection Collection of over 4,700 bookplates,
primarily by Lithuanian artists.
University Arts Library - Collection of Bookplates by Vytautas O.
Virkau The collection contains 121 bookplate specimens designed
by Vytautas O. Virkau, including ex-libris for both individual and
Vytautas O. Virkau. 19 litografiske exlibris. – Buch gebraucht
kaufen See also:
O. Virkau 19 litografiske exlibris by V. E. Vengris.
See also: Amazon.com
- book by Astride Ivaska, illustrated by Vytautas O.
Bookplates (Ex Libris), Bay Leaf Books, ABAA, eList 22 - January
Pages 18, 19 and 20 are all bookplates from V.O.Virkau.
AND GRAPHIC ART EXHIBITION OF LITHUANIAN EMIGRANTS FROM V.ŽUKAS PERSONAL COLLECTION
- Vitauts O.
Virkaus (Vvtautas O. Virkau), dz. 1930. g. illustrācijas Jona Meka
dzejoļu krājumam Ziedu valoda.
vienas žvilgsnis į lietuvius grafikus Šiauliai plius
catalog Kortelių vaizdų katalogas ir kartotekos - Lietuvos
Nacionalinė Martyno Mažvydo Biblioteka
Vytautas O. Virkau Memorial Archive
(Still) Under construction!
This page provides an archive of various materials created by
Vytautas Osvaldas Virkau. It is a bit haphazard and disorganized,
as new material is still being added. More content will be added
over time; existing content will be re-organized.
- Photographs of V.O. Virkau, mostly,
and a few of his wife Irena Virkau, and one of his farmhouse in
Wausaukee, Wisconsin. The photos span all decades, from a high-school
graduation photo, to photos as a student at the Art Institute; photos
in Wisconsin, and teaching in George Williams College.
Paintings and Artwork
- Photographs of his paintings,
found in his home, at the time of his death. These were quickly
photographed, and are of low-quality. However, they were shot with and
without flash, and given such image pairs, it should be possible to
reconstruct reasonable quality images. I hope. Includes photos of
- Artist's photo proofs.
Photos of fourteen paintings, taken by Vytas himself in Sept 2007.
Most of these later appeared in the 2008 issue of Lituanus (see below).
- Copy of images from Lituanus-2008.
These are just copies of images of his paintings that previously
appeared in the 2008 issue of Lituanus. These are low-resolution but
possibly color-adjusted(?). See the original raw images above.
- Stage Set designs.
Theatrical stage set (opera, play) designs from the 1950's and early
1960's, including photos and several programs.
Misc unsorted etchings, (unsigned proofs and duplicates) from the 1950's.
- Small watercolors and ink designs and
sketches. Mostly 1950-1951. Also a literary mailing. Unsorted.
- Large paintings (on canvas),
in the M.K. Čiurlionis Museum collection. These are the artworks
that the museum currently holds; these are mostly his earlier works,
from the 1950's and early 1960's, before his botanical style came to
full flower. (These are low-resolution photos. The colors look OK, but
the resolution is never more than 2K x 2K. Some appear to be
- Works on paper,
in the M.K. Čiurlionis Museum collection. These include paintings,
watercolors, drawings, rough drafts and several book illustrations
in the museum collection. (These are low-resolution photos. The colors
look OK, but the resolution is never more than 2K x 2K. Some appear to be
- Small drawings,
1956-1964. High resolution scans (tiff files). No index created yet.
Currently in Chicago, awaiting disposition.
- Catalog of the contents of the scans
directory. This includes published biographies, newspaper press
clippings, covers of opera programs, and the small drawings mentioned
- Extensive collection of genealogical
research. Twenty six documents examining the genealogy of nine families,
extending back almost 500 years. This includes the following families:
Armalis, Burnevičius (Burnevicius, Burniewicz), Gielgud, Jasinksis,
Oertelis (von Oertel), Landsburg, Romer, Šemeta (Semeta, Szemioth),
Sirjatavičius (Sirjatavicius, Syriatowicz). Includes memoirs
for the 19th century von Oertel family, the parition of the Šemeta
estate by Salomeja Šemetiene Landsbergiene, and memoirs of
Vanda Virkau-Sirjatavičiute (my grandmother). Assorted notes about
various family Coat of Arms.