Alexander Pilar was born on 9 August 1912, in Sevastopol, as the son of a Czarist army officer. He was descended from the famous Baltic German family of Pilchau. The family arrived in Estonia in 1922, after much wandering. From 1934–1938 Aleksander Pilar worked at the spinning mill Eesti Siid, and in 1941–1942 he was mobilised and served in the labour battalion in the Urals. In 1942, Pilar was admitted to the Yaroslavl Artistic Ensembles. In the early 1950s, at the age of 40, the artist dedicated himself to his favourite subject, watercolour painting. From 1959–1962 and 1969–1971, Pilar worked as the secretary in charge of the Artists’ Union. While teaching an all-Union group of watercolourists on creative trips between 1968 and 1988, he was one of the few artists allowed to travel abroad. At the time, his watercolours were being painted in various parts of the Soviet Union, as well as in Italy and West Germany.
In 1959, when Aleksander Pilar painted Viljandi Town Hall, he also completed a series of watercolours of the city of Cologne, the migratory fishing season in Saaremaa, and landscapes of South Estonia.
In addition to watercolours, Pilar created posters, designed stage sets and illustrated children’s books. Aleksander Pilar died on 3 August 1989, in Tallinn.
KEYWORDS: acclaimed watercolourist