(1886 – 1954)
Mountain Landscape with a Stream, 1923
oil on canvas, 100 x 120 cm
Vladimir Becić (Slavonski Brod, 1886 – Zagreb, 1954) started his education at Menci Klement Crnčić’s and Bela Čikoš Sesija’s private painting school. Soon after, in 1905, he went to Munich where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in the class of Hugo von Habermann, and he formed the Munich Circle of Painters with colleagues Miroslav Kraljević, Josip Račić and Oskar Herman. In 1910, he moved to Paris, trained at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, worked as an illustrator for the magazine Le Rire and exhibited his work at the Salon d’Automne. Having been a volunteer during World War I, he became a war correspondent, photographer and illustrator for the magazine L'ilustration.
After the war ended, he founded an art colony in Blažuj, with colleagues Vilko Šeferov and Karlo Mijić. Blažuj was just a residential location for the colony, which remained active until 1923, while painters travelled through the beautiful landscape at the foot of Mount Bjelašnica in search of motifs. Their landscapes are built with pure volumes, emphasising the plasticity of shapes and the role colour plays in their composition. Vladimir Becić was a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb from 1923 to 1947.
The motifs that Becić painted in the 1920s are Blažuj landscapes, female figures often depicted as nudes in plein air, and still lifes. Mountain Landscape with a Stream exudes a refined artistic language, while the reduced palette of brown, yellow, red and orange colours and their hues enables him to build a deep volume and clearly articulated details of the scene, simultaneously achieving a magical, alienated, apathetic atmosphere.
Text: Marta Radman, trainee curator © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022