On Sunday Afternoon, 1975
The experience of working in the Federal Republic of Germany had a decisive influence on the artistic work of Dragutin Trumbetaš, a self-taught painter from Velika Gorica near Zagreb. Until 1966, he worked in publishing in Zagreb, and his knowledge of different printing techniques will be of great help later in his career. His preferred mode of expression was drawing, and he depicted everyday life of workers and people from the lower social classes. Unlike the artists from the “Zemlja” Group, who were equally devoted to both rural and urban social problems in the interwar period, Trumbetaš focused almost entirely on the metropolitan working class. Having spent time as a Gastarbeiter (migrant worker) in the Federal Republic of Germany, a country at the peak of its economic development in the 1970s, Trumbetaš was able to witness first-hand how difficult life was for workers from Eastern Europe.
What we immediately notice in the print “On Sunday Afternoon”, besides the linear drawing style, is Trumbetaš’s attention to detail. He not only rendered the human figures – their clothes, shoes, hairstyles etc. – and the city streets and buildings where the action takes place – according to all the rules of artistic Realism, but also details that are not essential for the action, such as the advertisements. As long as the artist’s eye and hand allowed him to do so, he would render the products and their ads in minute detail. When it was no longer possible to get into the details of the scene, because of the restrictions of the medium, Trumbetaš would switch to a new drawing or print. By depicting the working class in German urban centres, Trumbetaš portrayed the flipside of a prosperous society during the historical zenith of European industrial capitalism.
Text: Klaudio Štefančić, curator of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb