In the Armchair, 1930
oil on canvas
61 x 50 cm
Born in 1899 in Stari Grad on the island of Hvar, Juraj Plančić started his art education at the Arts and Crafts School in Split in 1918, as a sculptor. In 1925, he obtained a degree in painting from the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts in the class of Vladimir Becić, and in 1926, as a French government scholarship holder, he completed one-year specialist training in Paris, together with his colleague and friend Krsto Hegedušić. His first presentation to the Paris audience at the Autumn Salon in 1927 was a success, he won critical acclaim and sold his work immediately. Encouraged, he started showing his work more often in Paris, at the Salon of Independent Artists (1928 and 1929), and he staged a solo exhibition at the Galerie de Seine in 1929. Professional success did not follow in his private life, and poverty, illness and longing for his native land characterised his regrettably short life, which he spent in Paris and Rosny sous Bois. He died in 1930 after a lifelong battle with tuberculosis.
Despite his short life, Plančić was a prolific and active painter, leaving behind more than 70 works of characteristic expression. He created thematically similar compositions where idealised life by the sea, fishermen, Parisian fashion, sardines and French newspapers intertwine with the esoteric Arcadian world. Running through the colouristic works are a specific golden-yellow haze and dynamic layers of paint. Plančić’s idealised and depersonalised woman sits almost nude in a sumptuous armchair. She evokes a sensuous Rubenesque woman, with a lethargic and pensive expression in the fictional modest room with a bed and a golden armchair.
Text: Marta Radman, curator intern © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb 2022
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb 2022