Oton Iveković
(1869 – 1939)
Mountain Landscape, 1895
watercolour on paper, 205 x 395 mm

At Kordun, 1898
oil on canvas, 110 x 179cm

Iveković’s painting oeuvre chronologically belongs, for the most part, to the Modern period, although stylistically it is still deeply rooted in Realism of the late 19th century. The anachronism of style and subject-matter of Iveković’s romanticized historical compositions, for which he is best known, are why numerous oleographs of his paintings adorned the homes of Croatian patriotic citizenry. From 1887, Iveković studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he showed a particular interest in the specialist course in history painting. Because of his persistent portrayal of the families of Zrinski and Frankopan, he was nicknamed “Zrinjmaler”. He continued his studies at the Munich Academy in 1892. Kršnjavi’s benevolence enabled him to spend the summer after returning from his studies cycling around and drawing in the regions of Lika, Dalmatia and Bosnia, which animated his interest in history painting and why he eventually ended up at the academy in Karlsruhe. He also has Kršnjavi to thank for starting working at the Grammar School, later the School of Crafts in Zagreb. He also had a private teaching school of painting in his own studio, attended by female painters Nasta Rojc and Vera Nikolić, among others. With the arrival of Vlaho Bukovac to Zagreb, his palette became brighter in the manner of the Colourful Zagreb School. At the 1898 Salon, he exhibited an anti-historical, so to speak, composition At Kordun, 1898 depicting the senselessness of war, exhausted soldiers and horses, painted in the manner of tonal painting, but with freer brushstrokes and a somewhat brighter palette. Iveković later parted ways with Bukovac, although Bukovac’s impressionist manner remained visible in his landscapes. The early romantic watercolour Mountain Landscape, 1895, rendered in uniform greenish-ochre colourway, points to the later small things in landscape (A Hunter in the Forest, 1898, A Forest, 1900, Hunter with a Dog, 1901) representing some of the authentic pinnacles of Iveković’s oeuvre. He later visually documented the situation on the battlefields of Soča, Galicia and Serbia during World War I.

Text: Dajana Vlaisavljević, museum consultant 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

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