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Vytautas Ignas (Ignatavicius) was born on May 16, 1924, in Zaciza, Lithuania. His father Jonas was a decorated participant of the fight for Lithuania's independence at the end of World War I. Because of his father's military service, the Ignatavicius family had to relocate a number of times and Vytautas received his primary and secondary education in Liskiava, Lazdijai, Birzai, and Vilnius. He graduated from Vytautas The Great high school in Vilnius in 1941.

Although Vytautas enjoyed drawing from his childhood, he did not think himself talented enough for the fine arts and decided to study architecture. However, a young artist, Jonas Vilutis, after seeing his drawings encouraged him to study art and helped him to prepare successfully for the Vilnius Academy of Art entrance exams. Vytautas began his art studies in 1941. His drawing teachers were Antanas Gudaitis and Liudas Vilimas, and his painting teacher was Justinas Vienozinskis. When the Academy was closed in 1943 by the German occupation forces, Vytautas attended clandestine art studies organized by Adolfas Valeska at the Vilnius Museum of Art, where Adolfas Valeska taught painting, Juozas Mikenas - drawing, Mikalojus Vorobjovas - art history, Levas Karsavinas - cultural history, and Petras Juodelis - art history of Vilnius.

In the summer of 1944 Vytautas moved west. After the end of World War II, he spend some time at a refugee camp in Hanau, Germany. In 1946 Vytautas entered a school of fine and applied arts, Ecole des Arts et Metiers, in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, where he continued his studies of painting under Viktoras Vizgirda and Adolfas Valeska and drawing under Vytautas K. Jonynas and Vytautas Kasiulis, earning a Master's Degree in fine arts in 1948. Not stopping there, he then studied graphic art techniques under Telesforas Valius.

In 1950 Vytautas Ignas emigrated to the United States and moved to Chicago. While working at various jobs during the day, Vytautas learned stained glass techniques from Albinas Elskus in the evenings. In 1952 he relocated to Cleveland, where he worked at stained glass studios. In 1958 he became a citizen of United States and shortened his name to Ignas. In 1959 he married Birute Dargyte-Daukantiene.

In 1962 the Ignas family moved to New York, where Vytautas became a designer at the Jonynas & Shepherd Art Studio. He joined the New York Lithuanian Artists' Association and became a member of The Print Club of Philadelphia. Later, he created stained glass window designs for the Duco Studio. In 1970 he began a two-year term teaching book art, design and graphic art at the Catan-Rose Institute of Art on Long Island.

In 1972 Vytautas changed his life: he abandoned the noise of the big city and moved his family to a quiet, forested parcel of land in Ashford, Connecticut, where they built their present home. They equipped the home with a bright and spacious studio and Vytautas found himself in a nearly ideal setting for creating his works of art. To earn a living he took a job that left his mind free to create - driving a delivery truck, and, except for some time off to enjoy his favorite hobby of fishing, devoted his free time to painting and engraving. Ten years later in 1982, Vytautas Ignas received the Lithuanian-American Community Culture Council's annual Prize for Art. In 1985 he retired from his job and devoted himself completely to art and fishing. In 1989 he became an honor member in the Union of Lithuanian Artists.

Vytautas Ignas credits Lithuanian folk art as the major influence in his art. He also sought to expand his knowledge of folk art from other parts of the globe by searching for it in museums and libraries.

In 2006, With the infirmities of age setting in,Vytautas Ignas and his wife Birute decided to return to their homeland Lithuania. They settled in Vilnius, where he died on February 18, 2009. He was buried among other renown Lithuanian artists on a small hill in the Antakalnis Cemetery.

Vytautas Ignas was a highly productive artist. He used a variety of media to create his works of art. Most of his work was produced outside of Lithuania. It includes about 150 lino and wood cuts, 200 paintings (oils, acrylics, and water colors), 100 mixed media creations, 300 drawings, wood mosaics, and stained glass projects. Much of his work was donated to institutions in Lithuania.


  • A. Kezys, Lithuanian Artists in North America, Galerija, Stickney, Illinois, 1994.
  • N. Tumeniene, A. Stasiulevicius, M. Sileikis, V. Raulinaitis, K. Bradunas, R. Viesulas, V. Vizgirda, A. Gudaitis, L. Andriekus, and H. Nagys, Vytautas Ignas, G. Urmanaite (editor), Lietuvos Dailes Muziejus, Vilnius, 2001.

Solo Exhibits

  • 2001 - M. K. Ciurlionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas, Lithuania
  • 2001 - Lithuanian Art Museum, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 2000 - Government Palace of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 1990 - Lithuanian Museum of Art, Lemont, Illinois
  • 1983 - Lithuanian National Union, Boston, Massachussetts
  • 1981 - Galerija, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1981 - Lithuanian cultural center "Kulturos Zidinys", Brooklyn, New York
  • 1979 - God's Providence Parish Cultural Center, Detroit, Michigan
  • 1978 - Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1977 - University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1973 - Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
  • 1972 - Lithuanian Cultural Center, Los Angeles, California
  • 1972 - Lithuanian National Union, Boston, Massachussetts
  • 1971 - Palace for Art Exhibitions, Vilnius, Lithuanian SSR
  • 1970 - Lithuanian-American Community of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut
  • 1969 - Liberty federal Savings and Loan Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1968 - Lithuanian Center, Detroit, Michigan
  • 1967 - Chicago Savings and Loan Association Art Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1967 - Lithuanian National Union, Boston, Massachussetts
  • 1966 - Transfiguration of Christ Parish Hall, Maspeth, New York
  • 1965 - Gallery International, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1962 - Chicago Savings and Loan Association Art Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1962 - Almus Art Gallery, Great Neck, New York
  • 1961 - Home of the Ciurlionis Ensemble, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1961 - Center of Lithuanian Culture, Baltimore, Pennsylvania
  • 1961 - Gallery International, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1959 - Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

Group Exhibits

  • 2000 - "The Return of Emigre Art", Radvilai Palace, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 1999 - The Third Exhibition of the Art of World Samogitians, Telsiai - Kretinga - Palanga - Mazeikiai, Lithuania
  • 1997 - Freiburg School 50th Anniversary, Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1994 - The Second Exhibition of the Art of World Samogitians, Plunge and Telsiai, Lithuania
  • 1993 - Alka, Palace of Lithuania's Artists, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 1993 - "The Return", National Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 1990 - 11 Emigre Artists, Radvilai Palace, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 1990 - Art '90, Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1989 - The First Exhibition of the Art of World Samogitians, Klaipeda, Lithuania
  • 1989 - Lithuanian Art '89, Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1988 - Lithuanian Emigre Art, Vilnius - Klaipeda - Kaunas, Lithuania
  • 1988 - Lithuanian Art '88, Toronto, Canada
    1987 - 80th Anniversary of First Lithuanian Art Exhibition, Brooklyn, New York
  • 1987 - Art Exhibit '87, Chicago, Illinois - Washington, D.C. - Brooklyn, New York - Toronto, Canada
  • 1985 - Connecticut Lithuanian-American Artists, The John Slade House Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 1983 - World Lithuanian Artists, Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1980 - Lithuanian Art, Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1978 - Lithuanian Days, Sacred Heart University, Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • 1978 - Five East Coast Artists, Lithuanian Club, Boston, Massachussetts
  • 1977 - Baltic Artists, Museo de Arte Moderno, Caracas, Venezuela
  • 1977 - First Baltic Exhibition, Brooklyn, New York
  • 1977 - Six Artists, Vasaris Gallery, Bar Harbor, Maine
  • 1974 - Lithuanian Independence Day, Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1973 - 12 Lithuanian Artists in America, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  • 1972 - 20th Anniversary of New York Lithuanian Artist Union, Brooklyn, New York
  • 1971 - Print Club Show, The Print Club of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1971 - Lithuanian Graphic Art, Brooklyn, New York
  • 1970 - Lithuanian Graphics, Woodhaven, New York - Baltimore, Maryland - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Boston, Massachussetts - Detroit, Michigan - Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1969 - Print Collector Show, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1969 - 50th Anniversary of Lithuanian Independance, Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1967 - Painting, Gordon Woodside Gallery, Seattle, Washington
  • 1967 - Painting and Mixed Media, Gallery International, New York, New York
  • 1966 - Painting, Gordon Woodside Gallery, Seattle, Washington
  • 1966 - Painting and Mixed Media, Gallery International, New York, New York
  • 1963 - Second International Exhibit of Lithuanian Art, O'Keefe Center, Toronto, Canada
  • 1962 - Publishing, Art and Architecture, Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1962 - American and Lithuanian Art, Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, New York
  • 1961 - Lithuanian Art, Culture Club of Boston, Boston, Massachussetts
  • 1960 - Art of 11 Freiburg School Graduates, Ciurlionis Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1958 - First International Exhibit of Lithuanian Art, Riverside Museum, New York, New York
  • 1958 - Artists in Exile, Chicago University, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1957 - Lithuanian Days, Collegiate, Niagara Falls, Canada
  • 1956 - Religious Art, Holy Cross Parish, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1953 - May Show, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1952 - Lithuanian Art, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1949 - War Refugee Art, Institut Francais, Freiburg im Breisgau., Germany
  • 1948 - Student Art, Ecole des Arts et Metiers, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

1982 - Lithuanian-American Community Culture Council's annual Prize for Art.

1970-72 - book art, graphics and design, Catan-Rose Institute of Art, Long Island, New York.

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