he has a strong artistic individuality or is at most an imitator thus attempting to disguise his true image. As both Lithuanians and Jews are heavy-minded as regards the understanding of art, perhaps we could get them interested by suggesting a modern attitude. As to this last item, Mesenblium has done quite a lot. [...] We see him as a purposeless innovator. That’s because we think of him as of someone who doesn’t have modernism for his creative motto, but follows his principles seeking to overtake those who have reached the top of their profession; taking a superficial look, it’s rather easy to take a leaf out of their book.8
From 1924 until his death in 1933, Mesenblium exclusively exhibited his works abroad. Already seriously ill in 1932, Mesenblium returned to Kaunas, where he died the following summer. Having failed to receive attention from critics or from the press during his lifetime, the painter became very popular in Lithuania after his death. His creations were exhibited at Lithuanian art shows in Riga and Tallinn. Two exhibitions presenting his works were arranged to commemorate the artist––a small show at the Jewish Real Gymnasium in March and one at the Independent Salon that spanned the different periods of his work from 1918 to 1932. Large crowds attended the latter exhibition sketching the painter’s biographical data and works, and it received a good press. The exhibition included about 160 works: 120 paintings (mostly portraits and still-lifes) and 40 drawings of decorations from Jewish cemeteries. Most of Mesenblium’s paintings and lino cuts remained abroad.
In the second half of the 1920s, both artistic and cultural life in Kaunas began to flourish. Seven to fourteen exhibitions were organised annually. Gradually, alongside the emergence of recognised Lithuanian artists who had begun their career before the First World War, a new generation of Jewish artists arose: Arbit Blatt, Band, Sholom Zelmanovich, Akim Josim, Max Ginsburg, Lipshitz and others. Both Lithuanian and Jewish artists actively participated in exhibitions and organized individual painting shows.
In October 1925, the first exhibition of works by Max Band, a Paris-domiciled artist, opened at the Folk Theatre Palace. It included 15 paintings and 15 reproductions of his original pieces. Despite the fact that his works had already won recognition abroad, Band was virtually unknown to the Lithuanian public. His show consequently failed to arouse a wide response. Moreover, the Lithuanian art critics’ attitude was emphatically disapproving. They accused Band of imitating different artistic trends and famous foreign artists. Disappointed by Band’s creations, E. Gelmantas wrote:
Regarding the painting technique––it’s neither Naturalism nor Futurism; though similar, these are different things. A rough colour scheme, distorted human