Menci Clement Crnčić
Calm Seas, 1906
oil on canvas
Painter and graphic artist Menci Clement Crnčić studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (1882-1884) and in Munich (1889-1892). After having worked briefly as a painting teacher at the School of Crafts in Zagreb, on the recommendation of painter, art historian, curator and politician Izidor Kršnjavi, in 1894 he was awarded a scholarship to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he studied graphic arts under Prof. William Unger. He moved back to Zagreb in 1900, where in 1903 – together with painter Bela Čikoš Sesija – he opened a private art school, which first grew into the College of Arts and Crafts, and then into the Academy of Fine Arts, where he taught between 1907 and 1930. He became a member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1919. Between 1920 and 1928, he also headed the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters (at today’s Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) in Zagreb.
Menci Clement Crnčić was one of the pioneers of modern graphic arts in Croatia. Marinas were his favourite motif in painting, which he painted in daylight and which feature a convincing Realism in different weather conditions. Crnčić’s Calm Seas painting from 1906 captivates with its powerful depiction of two sailing boats on calm seas. The masterfully painted whiteness of the sails featuring blue shadowing emerges from the fluffy white clouds of azure, clear skies.
Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb