Lilian Härm was born on 18 September 1927, in Tallinn. Her father, Albert Vahtramäe, was a designer and decorator at the Estonia Theatre. Lilian Härm graduated from the Tallinn State Institute of Applied Arts in 1950, with a degree in theatre design, and worked for a few years at the Tallinn Drama Theatre. Both Lilian and her husband, Endel Härm, were active in commercial graphics starting in the first half of the 1950s. Artists were commissioned to create designs and artwork for sweets boxes, as well as smaller signs, advertisements, and posters for holidays and fairs. Lilian Härma’s magnificent illustrations of children’s books (J. Oro’s The Egg, C. Perrault’s Fairy Tales, Hungarian Fairy Tales, etc.), which have been admired by generations of children, can be considered her life’s work.
Lilian sattus esimest korda Viljandisse sõja ajal ning armus sellesse väikelinna, kuid alaliselt asus koos abikaasa Endel Härmaga siia elama 1974. aastal. Kunstnikku köidab Viljandi väiksus ja rahulikkus ning intiimne suletud maastik. Koos abikaasaga võeti ette süstareise ja pikki jalgsimatku mööda Eestimaad.
Lilian first came to Viljandi during the war and fell in love with the small town, but settled here permanently in 1974 together with her husband, Endel Härm. The artist is attracted by the small size and tranquillity of Viljandi and its intimate, closed landscape. Together with her husband, she undertook kayaking trips and long walks all over Estonia. As a commercial artist and children’s book illustrator, the artist has a love for vibrant colours. Many of her paintings are dominated by vigour and intense greens, reds, blues, and yellows. A large part of the artist’s work consists of Viljandi’s townscapes with their inner courtyards, parks, and street corners. Lilian Härm has also painted Lake Viljandi and the castle ruins. Both themes and techniques have changed over the years. The artist herself explains that painting the same way all the time is boring. At the age of 91, Lilian Härm published her first collection of poetry with her minimalist illustrations (Vallikivi, 2020).
Three paintings The view of the Old Town is a cosy and genuine Viljandi motif, created in the mid-1990s in a pastel technique. The view is from Oru Street towards Tartu Street, the painting features a moat and a backyard with sheds and a garden.
- View of Viljandi Town Centre, 1981
- View from the Viljandi water tower, 2005. Oil on canvas. 61 x 76 cm.
- View of the Old Town, 1990s. Pastel on paper. 39 x 49 cm (View from Oru Street towards Tartu Street, Viljandi Museum)
KEYWORDS: children’s book illustrations, Viljandi townscapes, cat pictures