Paul Luhtein (1909 – 2007)

Luhtein, Paul (1909 – 2007). The Title Page. A Leaf from a folder "Tallinn

Paul Luhtein (1909 – 2007) was a revered figure in the realm of art, marking his inception in the world of creativity at the State Art and Industrial School during 1924-1930. His prolific journey continued up until the twilight of his life, serving as an emblem of cultural continuity and bridging artists from various eras. His exceptional memory ensured he had a profound understanding of unwritten art history nuances. Among his notable memberships were the Art Club (Ku-Ku) founded in 1932, where he served on the board from its genesis in 1935 till 1940.

Many found allure in the intriguing aspects of his life; his abode welcomed art enthusiasts, beckoning them to delve into the winding art history. Paul’s educational journey saw him at the Jakob Westholm Gymnasium from 1916-1924, eventually graduating as an applied artist from the State Art and Design School in 1930. Following this, he further honed his skills at the Leipzig Academy of Graphic and Book Art under the guidance of Professor Thimann during 1931-1932.

1932 saw him embark on a teaching endeavor at the State School of Art and Design, emphasizing consumer graphics. By 1934, he played a pivotal role in reshaping the Tallinn Printing School. Notably, Paul was among the 39 distinguished citizens endorsing Konstantin Päts for head of state in 1934. His design prowess won him accolades in 1936 when his sketches for national awards were recognized, leading to the creation of the Order of the State Emblem and the Order of the White Star.

Drafted into the Red Army in 1941, Paul’s initial duties revolved around an oil plant in Udmurtia. Yet, by 1942, he transitioned to Yaroslavl and Moscow, working as a dedicated artist. Upon his return to Estonia, he emerged as a sought-after emblem designer and the mind behind the Estonian SSR national flag in 1952. The subsequent decades celebrated his unmatched expertise in book art. His masterpieces, like The Son of Kalevipoeg, The Iliad, and Odyssey, are revered in Estonian book art. His teaching journey began at the Tallinn State Institute of Applied Arts in 1944, eventually heading the graphics department till 1982. For art enthusiasts, the Rios Art Gallery offers an online collection of paintings by distinguished Estonian artists like Paul.