Waiting (Rain), 1963
tempera, oil on canvas
130 x 114 cm
Krsto Hegedušić (1901 – 1975) is a remarkable Croatian painter with a distinct critical edge. His oeuvre is found at the crossroads of the heritage of Flemish Renaissance (P. Breughel), primitive, naïve and so-called our expression, and engaged realism – naturalism under the influence of New Objectivity (G. Grosz). He has also adopted the experiences of Expressionism, Cubism, Fauvism and Surrealism, all of which contributed to the original critical substrate. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in Zagreb in 1926 (Lj. Babić, T. Krizman; specialist course of V. Becić) and continued his studies in Paris from 1926 to 1928. With L. Junek, he founded the Zemlja group of artists and organized their exhibitions (1929 – 1935) until the time they were banned by the police. Since 1930, in Hlebine, he had been teaching peasants to paint (I. Generalić, F. Mraz) and has participated in the Zemlja group exhibition (1931). In 1932, he published a collection of social-critical drawings Motifs from Podravina with a foreword written by M. Krleža. Because of his socialist beliefs, he was imprisoned several times. Since 1937, he had been teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, and since the 1950s he led a Master’s Workshop. He illustrated Krleža’s Ballads of Petrica Kerempuh (1946). In the post-war period, he synthesized his style by painting anxiety-ridden and alienated urban motifs. In the painting Waiting (Rain, 1963), Krsto Hegedušić uses a synthesized style to paint an anxiety-ridden and alienated scene with stylized naturalistic creatures, who have gaunt physiognomies and are looking intently to the sky, their hands as if in prayer, as they wait for rain that is finally falling behind them like a trace of light in the grey window, without diminishing the discomfort of the scene. He encouraged the establishment of the Fine Arts Archive and the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He made the ceremonial curtain of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb (Anno Domini 1573) in 1969, and was the recipient of the “Vladimir Nazor” Lifetime Achievement Award in 1970.
Text: Željko Marciuš, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art ©National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: From the photo-archive of the National Museum of Modern Art ©National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb