Juraj Plančić
Flowers with a Sailor’s Picture, 1929
oil on canvas; 55 x 46 cm

Juraj Plančić was born in 1899 in Stari Grad on the island of Hvar in a fishing family. Even though he started his art education in 1918 in Split as a sculptor, in 1925 he obtained a degree in painting from the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts in the class of Vladimir Becić. In 1926, as a French government scholarship holder, Plančić went to Paris with his colleague Krsto Hegedušić, and as early as 1927 he had his first successful showing at the Autumn Salon. He won critical acclaim and his work was immediately sold. This was followed by engagements at the Salon of Independent Artists (1928 and 1929), and a solo exhibition at the Galerie de Seine in 1929. He suffered from tuberculosis, and eventually succumbed to it in Paris in 1930. Despite being seriously ill, Juraj Plančić left behind about 70 works, most of which were painted between 1928 and 1930. His oeuvre is characterised by melodious drawing and thin, vibrant layers of paint. Thematically, the simplified compositions most often transport us to an idealized world by the sea. As an amalgam of his native region, Parisian suburbs and an Arcadian setting, Plančić creates a gleeful world from Dalmatian postcards, fishermen returning from the sea bathed in gold, sardines in boxes and fish traps, summer parties with wine, guitars and women, flowers and fruit on the table. The idyllic world of his canvases gives no inkling of the poverty, illness and difficulties he was facing in real life. Plančić’s unique interweaving of Hvar folk scenes and Parisian modernity is revealed only in details of the painting “Flowers with a Sailor’s Picture”, such as the sailor’s modern haircut, moustache or Breton-stripes.

Text: Marta Radman, curator intern of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022

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