A Girl, 1932
oil on canvas
60 x 46 cm
National Museum of Modern Art
Jerolim Miše’s portrait painting from the 1930s met all the expectations of the contemporary bourgeois audience and critics. Within the topical socio-political theme, Miše selects characters from the bottom of the social ladder, but he actually paints them only as clichés of misery and squalor. Poor children, women and the elderly with lowered and dimmed eyes, in Miše’s interpretations, are devoid of personality and are in fact only symbols of those ‘others’, the afflicted, helpless and uneducated.
In 1911, Jerolim Miše published such a severe piece of criticism of the work of his professor Menci Clement Crnčić that he got expelled from the College of Arts and Fine Crafts in Zagreb, so he later studied in Rome and Florence. Having been influenced by Ivan Meštrović, Miše’s early painting was close to the linear Art Nouveau style. In the late 1920s, Miše is influenced by French painting and contemporary German Expressionism and he paints pronouncedly geometrised forms in the spirit of New Modernism and Magical Expressionism. As a member of the Group of Three, he participated in the formulation of “our expression”, and after having used the intense colours and liberated gesture in the 1930s, he later paints mostly intimist still lifes and landscapes in deep colours. In the last decades of his life, he painted realistically. Miše taught at the academies of fine art in Belgrade and Zagreb. He wrote art criticism and theoretical discussions, poems and short stories, and he also worked as a graphic designer. He was a member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Tekst: Lada Bošnjak Velagić, senior curator of the National Museum of Modern Art©National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Foto: Goran Vranić©National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb