Ülo Sooster

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Ülo Sooster
Born (1924-10-17)17 October 1924
Ühtri, Käina Parish, Estonia
Died 25 October 1970(1970-10-25) (aged 46)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Estonian
Education Tartu Art College
Known for Painting
Movement Surrealism
Soviet Nonconformist Art

Ülo Ilmar Sooster (October 17, 1924 in Ühtri, Käina Parish – October 25, 1970 in Moscow)[1] was an Estonian nonconformist painter.

Ülo Sooster was born the village of Ühtri on the island of Hiiumaa. He was the son of Johannes Sooster and Veera Sooster (née Tatter) and had a sister, Meedi, two years younger. His father was later remarried to Linda Vahtras. He was educated at Tartu Art College where he studied surrealism during the years 1945—1949. In 1949 his studies were cut short when he was arrested and like hundreds of thousands of other Baltic republics citizens, he was captured by the Soviet authorities and sent to Soviet labour camp in Karaganda for ten years hard labor.[2] In 1956, during Nikita Khrushchev's thaw, he was released and 'rehabilitated' by denouncing Stalinism.[3] He returned to Estonia in 1956 but in 1957 he went to Moscow, and began intensive practice as non-conformist artist. In 1962 he exhibited his work Eye in the Egg at the Manege exhibition that later was a turning point in the acceptance of modern art: though Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev disapproved and threatened to send the artists to Siberia, the public understood that only membership in the artists' union would be denied and no one would be executed or exiled.

He worked with Ilya Kabakov who wrote a monograph of his work which he kept throughout the Soviet period and which he finally published years later in 1996 after the artist had emigrated to New York.

Personal life[edit]

Ülo Sooster married Lidia Serh in 1956. They had a son, Tenno-Pent Sooster, born in 1957, who would go on to become an artist.


  • 1966 : Poland, XIX Festiwal Sztuk Płastycznych, Sopot – Poznań: Biura wystaw artystycznych.[4]


  1. ^ http://www.geni.com/people/%C3%9Clo-Sooster/6000000007790132273
  2. ^ More than 10% of the entire adult Baltic population was deported or sent to penal servitude in Siberia or Kazakhstan Gulag camps in the years after World War II : Heinrihs Strods, Matthew Kott (Spring 2002). "The file on operation "Priboi": A re-assessment of the mass deportations of 1949". Journal of Baltic Studies 33 (1)
  3. ^ SOOSTER, Ullo (1924 - 1970), Painter, animation artist in Bénézit
  4. ^ Второй русский авангард, или Визуальная культура эпохи холодной войны//АртГид, 2013 (Russian).