Samuel Bak Museum in Vilnius


Samuel Bak Museum in Vilnius both presents the extraordinary paintings of the world-known artist and tells the story of his life. Truth to be told, his life journey is as surreal as his paintings. This museum is an artistic oasis, which lets us explore Vilna Jews history from an unusual angle. Although this museum is not the only museum dedicated to Samuel Bak in this wide world since 2017 it is the first such historical gallery of Samuel Bak.

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Painter Samuel Bak was born in Vilnius on the 12th of August in 1933. He expressed his need to paint from early childhood, so when he and his family were forced to Vilna ghetto in 1941, his mother made sure that he would at least have paper, pencils, and watercolors. That way 8-year-old Samuel could at least spiritually escape the harsh reality of the ghetto. Paradoxically the ghetto was the place where his works of art were recognized for the first time. In 1943 ghetto artists organized the exhibition in the vestibule of ghetto theatre and paintings made by 10-year-old Samuel hung next to the paintings of professional artists.  However, despite his talent, the life under Nazi occupation was dreadful to Samuel as to other Jewish kids in the ghetto. During the Holocaust the majority of his family was murdered, only Samuel and his mother managed to stay alive. After the war, they instantly left Lithuania and stayed in Germany for a while. In 1948, after Israel was established as a separate state, Samuel emigrated to Jerusalem and studied painting in the Bezalel academy of arts and design. During his years in Israel, Samuel Bak served in the army as well.  In 1956 he moved to Paris and started his studies at Beaux Arts Academy. All his life the painter could not settle for the one place – he traveled a lot and during the years 1959–1993 m. he lived in Italy, Israel, France, Switzerland, and the USA. Lastly, he settled near Boston in the USA.

Going away, A flight from Berlin, The Creation, and The guardian angel of travelers are considered as his most famous paintings.


86-year-old Samuel Bak is still as active artist. In 2017 he visited his birthplace – Vilnius – when Samuel Bak Museum was opened.  In the same year he was awarded the title of an honorary citizen of Vilnius and in 2018 he received the Knight`s Cross for “The Merits to Lithuania”.

At the moment there are 37 paintings by Samuel Bak presented in the Museum. These paintings are from various periods of his artistic life – from the earliest paintings on Pinkas pages in Vilna ghetto to the current works of Samuel Bak, which are considered as allegorical realism.


Historical Jewish quarter, 54.679532, 25.285090

Jewish street, 54.679532, 25.285090

The place of the Great Synagogue and shulhof (jid. shulhoyf) (Žydų g. 3), 54.679901, 25.284511

The mausoleum of Vilna Gaon and his family (Jewish cemetery, Sudervė road, 28), 54.712898, 25.234477

A sculpture to Vilna Gaon (Žydų g. 3), 54.680137, 25.285079

Choral synagogue Taharat ha–Kodesh (Pylimo g. 39), 54.676070, 25.281575

Užupis synagogue (Užupio g. 36), 54.681471, 25.298633

A sculpture of doctor Cemachas Šabadas  (sculpt. Romualdas Kvintas), 54.677248, 25.284342

Pohulanka (dab. J. Basanavičiaus gatvė), 54.680145, 25.276134

A sculpture of young boy as Romain Gary (sculpt. Romualdas Kvintas) (J. Basanavičius g. 14a.), 54.680145, 25.276134

The place of YIVO institute and its memorial plague (Vivulskio g. 18), 54.678840, 25.265085;

The place of old Jewish cemetery in Šnipiškės (Olimpiečių g. 1a), 54.690243, 25.291117

Jewish cemetery in Užupis (Olandų g. 22), 54.688106, 25.307748

The printing house of widow Rom and Rom brothers (A. Strazdelio g. 3), 54.675534, 25.292128

The writings in Žemaitija street (Žemaitijos g. 9, 54.677785, 25.281711) and in Saint Steponas street (Šv. Stepono g. 5, 54.674636, 25.281765)

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