Paul Kamm (1917 – 1979)

Kamm, Paul (1917 – 1979).Beacon. (1967)

Paul Kamm was born in 1917 in the quaint town of Kertel, now known as Kärdla, situated on the scenic island of Dago. With just a basic school education, he swiftly transitioned into the workforce, dedicating years to various textile factories across Estonia. However, life took a sudden turn in 1941 when he was drafted into the Estonian Territorial Rifle Corps of the Red Army.

Tragedy struck in March 1942 when, during military exercises, Kamm suffered severe frostbite on his feet. Despite rigorous medical interventions, he remained bedridden, able to move only his fingers. But adversity often reveals hidden talents. Confined to his bed, Kamm began illustrating landscapes of his beloved homeland and poignant scenes from a soldier’s life using only his memories as a guide.

By 1953, Kamm’s innate artistic skills were recognized, and his masterpieces clinched the top award at a local exhibition. His extraordinary talent caught the attention of Olev Soans, a distinguished Estonian graphic artist from the State Art Institute of the ESSR, who personally mentored him. A decade later, Kamm’s paintings graced the Moscow exhibition, earning him a prestigious diploma. This accolade paved the way for his induction into the Union of Artists of the Estonian SSR and subsequently, the Communist Party.

Paul Kamm’s journey on earth culminated in 1979 in Kärdla. However, his legacy endures. A monument dedicated to this exceptional graphic illustrator stands proudly on Tiigi street. Further, the Rios Art Gallery has inaugurated an online sale, showcasing the mesmerizing works of this Estonian artist.