Born July 7 (19), 1897, in what is now Gulbene Raion, Latvian SSR. Soviet painter. People’s Artist of the USSR (1963).
In 1918, Svemp studied under I. I. Mashkov at the Moscow Vkhutemas (State Higher Arts and Technical Studios). Since 1952 he has taught at the Academy of Arts of the Latvian SSR in Riga. (He had previously taught at the academy in 1940 and 1941 and from 1944 to 1952.) He became a professor at the academy in 1947 and rector in 1961. Svemp was chairman of the administrative board of the Artists’ Union of the Latvian SSR from 1965 to 1968 and a deputy to the seventh convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
The still lifes and landscapes of Svemp’s mature period are noted for their lively, joyful treatment of man’s environment and their contrasting spectrum of brilliant colors. Examples at the Arts Museum of the Latvian SSR in Riga include Old Riga (1927), Vestiena (1956), and Still Life With a Newspaper (1967). Svemp has been awarded the State Prize of the Latvian SSR (1957), the Order of Lenin, three other orders, and several medals.