Margarita Stipnieks was born in Latvia, and graduated from the Academy of Art in Riga. After exhibiting in Europe and the United States of America, Stipnieks arrived in Australia in 1950, and settled in Adelaide, painting still-life (especially flowers), portraits and figure work. She was accepted as a Fellow of the Royal South Australian Society of Arts, and in 1963 was appointed visiting lecturer at the South Australian School of Art.
In the late 1960s, Stipnieks gave private lessons at Carrick Hill to Ursula Hayward (q. v.) and a group of friends. The tutor’s penchant for impasted textures and strong tonal contrasts is echoed in the pupil’s flower paintings also in the Australian Collection Exhibition.
Possible alias used Margarita Anna Klebachs.
“The artist Margarita Stipnieks, born on 26 July 1910, was present at her own 100th anniversary exhibition at the Talsi Museum.
Her paintings move with the times and with her life experience – the retrospective encompasses the period from 1940 to 2010.
Margarita Stīpnieks has had her life story recorded for the National Oral History collection, in which the main highlights are:
A First World War refugee from the age of five to ten in Russia; studying at the Latvian Academy of Art in the master class of Ģederts Eliass, as a contemporary of Karlis Padegs and Margarita Kovalevska; living in Talsi during the war; experiences as a Second World War refugee and in a DP Camp in Wurzburg, Germany.
The longest period of her life has been spent in Adelaide, Australia, from which she returned to her birthplace of Saldus, Latvia, four years ago.
I do not regret the fact that we had to escape from Latvia, because I have seen so many lands, and met so many interesting people, and I have established so many friendships and seen so many love affairs. It has also been quite difficult, because we didn’t leave to get something in a material sense, but in order to save our family and children.
A recurring image in Margarita’s work is a Madonna and child, painted at various times, in various colours and techniques – a recurring theme for the artist in her life and art. “