Ivo Kerdić
Petar Dobrović, 1921

Ivo Kerdić (1881-1953) was a great Croatian medallist of the first half of the 20th century. In his medals and plaques from the end of the 1920s, the poetics of Art Nouveau started to slowly fade and sculptural qualities started to become increasingly prominent. Kerdić’s three medals dedicated to painters – namely, to Petar Dobrović from 1921, to Vilko Gecan from 1923 and to Vladimir Becić from 1930 – are powerful and holistic portraits of their artistic and psychological values. The reverses of these medals feature synthesised symbolism. Although Kerdić created a large number of artworks of high quality, these medals are the best examples of the creative power of his artistic accomplishment.

Kerdić brought his novel artistic conception to life on a double-sided medal of painter and lawyer Petar Dobrović (1890-1942), which he wrote the following about: “My first medal, which I executed in freeform, is an engraved medal of painter Dobrović, and is one of my most significant works. This medal is purely sculptural in nature without any painterly influence. Yet it works well and looks good as a medal, even as an engraving. The obverse features the figure of the painter with an inscription in a circle: ‘Petar Dobrović’, a figure full of Dobrovićesque self-awareness. Dobrović, a man of great energy and self-confidence bordering on arrogance, is within the frame of the medal and completely dominates it. The reverse of the medal does not lag behind the obverse in quality. Dobrović’s personality is again reflected in the ‘rooster’. Thanks to Dobrović’s medal, I made my way to America, where almost each of the 25 pieces were sold.”

Ivo Kerdić used a similar solution for the designs of his medals dedicated to Croatian painters Vilko Gecan (1894-1973) and Vladimir Becić (1886-1954) as he did with painter Dobrović – the obverse features an extraordinary psychological portrait, and the reverse a characteristic personification and a slogan.

Text:Tatijana Gareljić, 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

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