At a press conference held on 20th April at the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb, the Ties That Bind – Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and Slovenian Artists Between the Two Wars exhibition was presented. The exhibition is the result of collaboration between the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb, the Božidar Jakac Art Museum in Kostanjevica on Krka and the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb.
In the presence of Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Zagreb, Matjaž Marko, media representatives were addressed by the Director of the National Museum of Modern Art, Branko Franceschi, and the Director of the Božidar Jakac Art Museum, Goran Milovanović. The exhibition was presented by the curators of the exhibition, namely museum consultant at the National Museum of Modern Art and Head of the 1898-1918 Painting Collection, Dajana Vlaisavljević, and art historian and curator at the Božidar Jakac Art Museum in Kostanjevica on Krka, Asta Vrečko, PhD.
The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual (Croatian and English) exhibition catalogue. The texts are authored by art historians Asta Vrečko, PhD, museum consultant Dajana Vlaisavljević, Head of the Archives of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Ariana Novina, and retired senior museum consultant at the National Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, Breda Ilich Klančnik. The exhibition catalogue was designed by Ana Zubić.
About the exhibition: Ties That Bind – Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and Slovenian Artists Between the Two Wars exhibition is the result of collaboration between the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb, the Božidar Jakac Art Museum in Kostanjevica on Krka and the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb.
The centuries-old contacts between artists from Croatian and Slovenian territories within the same country intensified with the founding of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Zagreb – the region’s cultural and studying hotspot at the time – was also the only city in the newly formed state that had a fine arts academy. Ivan Meštrović, one of the most famous artists of the period, was at the helm of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, which could easily compete with similar European education institutions thanks to its quality study programmes. In the interwar period, almost one hundred Slovenian artists studied there, many of whom later left their mark on Slovenian art and culture as painters, sculptors, set designers, art teachers, cultural workers, theorists and, ultimately, as professors at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana which was founded in 1945. Lasting friendships were formed, former professors and students became colleagues, former colleagues became collaborators, they became active in different societies and associations, exhibited, were members of committees, and so collaborated in the shaping of pre-war and post-war cultural and artistic life.
Curated by Asta Vrečko, PhD (Božidar Jakac Art Museum) and Dajana Vlaisavljević (National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb), the exhibition is presenting approximately one hundred paintings, sculptures and graphic art pieces by the most famous Slovenian artists who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, such as: Gabrijel Stupica, Zoran Mušič, Zoran Didek, France Pavlovec, Marij Pregelj, Maksim Sedej, Miha Maleš, Nikolaj Pirnat, France Gorše, France Mihelič, Zdenko Kalin. Some works were already exhibited in Zagreb in the interwar period and will now be presented to Zagreb’s public again after eighty years. The works of Slovenian artists will be exhibited in parallel with the works of their Croatian colleagues, namely Antun Motika, Oton Postružnik, Marijan Detoni, Frano Šimunović, Slavko Kopač and then professors Ljubo Babić, Vladimir Becić, Ivan Meštrović, Krsto Hegedušić, Marino Tartaglia and others. The exhibition attempts to detect the mutual influences, ties and collaborations between Slovenian and Croatian artists, and to point out some of the widely known key issues that were of particular interest to the artists of both milieus at the time, such as the issue of national artistic expression or socially engaged art.
Besides works of art from the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb and the Božidar Jakac Art Museum, the exhibition is also presenting works from fifteen other public collections from Slovenia and Croatia, from several private collections and the archives of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb.
Artists: Grga Antunac, Ljubo Babić, Vladimir Becić, Menci Klement Crnčić, Marijan Detoni, Zoran Didek, Marta Ehrlich, Robert Frangeš Mihanović, Oton Gliha, Olaf Globočnik, France Godec, Franjo Golob, Jože Gorjup, France Gorše, Krsto Hegedušić, Karel Jirak, Leo Junek, Zdenko Kalin, Boris Kalin, Maks Kavčič, Dore Klemenčić, Joza Kljaković, Slavko Kopač, Tomislav Krizman, Frano Kršinić, Stane Kumar, Vladimir Lamut, Peter Loboda, Ivo Lozica, Miha Maleš, Ivan Meštrović, France Mihelič, Jerolim Miše, Antun Motika, Omer Mujadžić, Zoran Mušič, Nikolaj Omersa, Lajči Pandur, Vjekoslav Parać, France Pavlovec, Nikolaj Pirnat, Oton Postružnik, Marij Pregelj, Mira Pregelj, Vanja Radauš, Bara Remec, Eduard Salesin, Evgen Sajovic, Maksim Sedej, Frančišek Smerdu, Fran Stiplovšek, Gabrijel Stupica, Gabrijela Spanring, Lojze Šušmelj, Marino Tartaglia, Maksimilijan Vanka, Nande Vidmar, Branko Zinauer, Klavdij Zornik
Translated by: Ana Janković