U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle Litzenberger has hosted a reception at his residence to showcase the examples of American fine art presented under the U.S. State Department’s ‘Art in Embassies’ program (AIE), which has been operating since 1963.
The program creates vital cross-cultural dialogue and fosters mutual understanding through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchanges. AIE develops and presents approximately 60 exhibitions per year and has installed over 70 permanent art collections in more than 200 of the Department’s diplomatic facilities in 189 countries.
To accomplish the mission, AIE engages over 20,000 international participants, including artists, museums, galleries, universities, and private collectors.
Each ambassador chooses a collection available within the program, which is later brought to the country of destination, remaining there for the duration of an ambassador’s work in that country.
Having greeted the guests, Ambassador Litzenberger organized a showcase of the artworks in three rooms of the residence. Noting that art is common human language without borders, he said that before arriving in Azerbaijan, he collected necessary information about the country and learned how rich and beautiful nature is here.
The ambassador was able to witness mentioned beauty firsthand, while visiting different places in Azerbaijan, including Absheron, Ganja, Shaki, Nakhchivan, Lankaran, Zagatala, and Khachmaz.
“I noticed that the nature of the U.S. and Azerbaijan is similar and beautiful,” the ambassador said.
Ambassador Litzenberger mentioned that he loves mountains, traveling, and pointed out how much the mountains of California are similar to Azerbaijan’s Shahdag – the region which he often visits and where he also goes skiing.
The ambassador spoke about each painting with such passion, that it seemed as if he was a professional art critic. It was amazing to hear that his grandfather was an artist and a designer, whom he inherited love for art.
The ambassador believes that if he could paint, he would paint the landscapes of Nakhchivan and the Caspian Sea on the canvas, and maybe he would even become a portrait painter.
Litzenberger added that he was fond of beautiful landscapes. “It is through photos of nature that people from other countries can have an idea about beautiful landscapes in the U.S.”
The works exhibited in each room at the ambassador’s residence belong to contemporary U.S. artists, mostly from the northeastern region of the United States – New England.
One of the rooms exhibited “Thunder” – a painting by Nancy Hohorst Martin, about a terrible surf on the Atlantic coast.
The guest room presented a variety of landscapes, including Faith Rumm’s “Massif” as well as “Sapphire Lake” and “Big Chief Lake”. Another worthy mention here is “Upper Yosemite Falls” by Karen Winters and “Galilee” by Bo Bartlett.
The third room showcases “Autumn Lights”, “Summer Garden” and “Eastern Horizon” by Woody Jackson. Despite similarities of these artworks, each of them has its own feature, reflecting the seasons and colors of the year.
The dining room is decorated with Carol Peek’s “Metamorphosis” and “Into Evening”. The landscapes of the area are distinguished by different shades of color and light, revealing the originality of nature.
Ambassador Litzenberger said that while looking at these pieces of art, he recalls his student years and his family. The ambassador studied at the University of Vermont, lived in California for many years, where some members of his family come from.
The U.S. embassy regularly conducts cultural events in Azerbaijan. Should the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic allows, the embassy is planning to present a number of projects to the Azerbaijani public about U.S. culture and art.