Henn Roode
(1924 - 1974)

Henn-Olavi Roode (November 4, 1924 Tallinn – December 25, 1974 Tallinn) was an Estonian painter. He was born in Tallinn to a family of engineers and doctors. In 1943 he graduated from Jakob Westholm Gymnasium in Tallinn. From 1944 to 1947 he studied at the Tartu State Art Institute (lecturers Ado Vabbe and Elmar Kits). In the autumn semester of 1947 he studied at Tallinn State Institute of Applied Art (lecturer Johannes Võerahansu and Lepo Mikko). On November 20, 1949, he was arrested on fabricated charges in Tartu. Within a few weeks, Ester Potisepp (future wife), Lembit Saarts, Ülo Sooster, Valdur Ohakas and, in 1950, Heldur Viires, were arrested from his circle of friends. On June 14, 1950, they were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in correctional labor camps by a decision of the USSR Ministry of National Security and a special meeting. Henn Roode was directed to Lugovoilag (also in the Pestanslag documents) in the Karaganda Oblast of Kazakhstan. Obviously, the imprisonment of a “student group” was intended to intimidate intelligence and, above all, artists. This action was probably part of a campaign to compromise art (teaching) that followed the tradition of the Paris School, leading to the dissolution of the independent Tartu State Art Institute in the late 1950s. 1956 released early, the same year it was rehabilitated. From 1956 to 1959 he studied at the Estonian National Institute of Art, graduating with a diploma in painting. For diploma work in oil painting “Mahtra”. Roode started performing at exhibitions right after graduation. From 1959 to 1960 he worked as artistic director of Tallinn Plywood and Furniture Factory. In 1964 he became a member of the Artists’ Union of the USSR. Between 1964 and 1974 he worked mainly as a freelance artist and occasionally worked as a lecturer at the Tallinn Pedagogical Institute. On December 25, 1974, Henn Roode died of stomach cancer. Essentially intellectual and by nature a seeker of truth, he revolved around the higher categories of his art philosophy – truth and absolute. He was like a scientist who tried to distinguish between random and intrinsic by analyzing the relationship between an objective ideal and a subjective form. Roode’s painting heritage consists of numerous seascapes, cityscapes, abstractions, portraits of various degrees and forms of deformation, nudes, self-portraits, still lifes and monumental compositions


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