In a celebratory and festive atmosphere, the recently renovated Providur’s Palace in Zadar, which, together with the Rector’s Palace makes the representative complex of Two Palaces, hosted the exhibition opening of a unique and invaluable cultural project titled “One World” and presented it to the cultural public in Zadar, as well as numerous guests from Zagreb and Dalmatia. A visionary artistic synergy of the National Museum of Modern Art from Zagreb, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia and the City of Zadar and their partner institution the National Museum Zadar, resulted in the temporary housing at the Providur’s Palace of as many as 199 seminal works of art from the NMMU Collection.
As the restoration works begin on the historicist Vranyczany Palace, which houses the NMMU, following two major earthquakes that struck Zagreb in 2020, the Museum Collection has been moved to the representative cultural edifice in Zadar for two years (for which the architects Iva Letilović and Igor Pedišić received the Croatian Architects’ Association “Viktor Kovačić” Award, as the most successful achievement in the category of architecture and urbanism, as well as the Vladimir Nazor Award for the best annual artistic achievement in the field of architecture and urbanism).
The relocated works of art will thus be protected in the best manner possible, and in addition, it provides the people of Zadar and their art-loving guests with an opportunity to enjoy exclusive cultural content.
Among the masterpieces of Croatian Modern art that have found their temporary home in Zadar is the magnificent oil on canvas “Gundulić Contemplating Osman” by Vlaho Bukovac, one of the most prominent and prolific Croatian painters, who had his first exhibition in this very city in 1884. He had spent almost two months in Zadar on that occasion during which time he painted 11 portraits, and now, 138 years later, he again symbolically, became its “resident” with his masterpieces.
The Providur’s Palace will, for the next two years, also be the home of such works as Nastja Rojc’s “Self-Portrait in Hunter Suit”, Nikola Mašić’s “A Geese Keeper on the Sava River”, Edo Murtić’s “Highway”, Miroslav Kraljević’s “Bonvivant (Portrait of Ante Masovčić)”, Emanuel Vidović’s “Small World”, Ferdinand Kulmer’s “Pegasus’s Garden”, Vilko Gecan’s “At the Table (Family)”, Josip Vaništa’s “Composition III”, Ljubo Babić’s “Hometown”, Željko Kipke’s “Unus mundusu II”, Vjekoslav Karas’s “Portrait of a Girl”, Slavko Kopač’s “Lady in White”, Đuro Seder’s “Traffic Lights”, the tapestry “From the Sun” by the recently deceased and world-renowned artists Jagoda Buić, as well as sculptures “Diana” by Frano Kršinić, “Girl Asleep” by Antun Augustinčić, “Dog on the Scent” by Branislav Dešković, “Shape of Space” by Ivan Kožarić, “Metal Sculpture 22” by Dušan Džamonja, “Torso III” by Vojin Bakić – and numerous other iconic works of Croatian visual arts.
Among the many guests who came to Zadar for the occasion were the artists Igor Grubić, Anabel Zanze, Jadranka Fatur, Izvor Pende, Dan Oki, Sandra Sterle, Darko Fritz, Hrvoje Hiršl, art photographer Ivan Posavec...
“Museum exhibitions have been traveling the world since the beginning of time, or at least since the existence of specialised institutions dedicated to collecting, safekeeping and presenting the most significant achievements of human spirituality and artistic expression. What we are however witnessing here today goes far beyond the usual practice of inter-institutional exchange and loan of artworks for a limited time. This is the first of its kind realisation of a long-discussed cultural-political topic related to the mobility of complete art collections and permanent museum exhibits. We are, therefore, talking about the until recently unimaginable undertaking of the temporary, but complete relocation of a large part of artworks from the holdings of one museum to the premises of another museum institution” – said the Minister of Culture and Media Nina Obuljen Koržinek as she opened the exhibition, adding “I am convinced that the interaction between the recently renovated opulent space of the two palaces which intertwines history, architecture and art of various periods on the one hand, and the established collections of the best works of art from the holdings of the National Museum of Modern Art will enrich both. Exhibitions in spaces with different receptive and experiential potential will breathe new life into well-known works, reveal previously unseen layers of meaning and enable their re-reading in a new light and context. On the other hand, this unique venue in the centre of the city that offers countless opportunities for the realisation of performance and exhibition projects, but is also a venue for education projects, engaging the audience and community participation did not have to wait long to receive and temporarily house exclusive artistic content. But above all else, this museological cooperation provides our citizens with an insight into the richness of the heritage that we have inherited and are preserving, and gives a considerable number of visitors the privilege of relishing the beauty of human creation.”
The Minister emphasised that she is certain that the valuable representative space of Providur’s and Rector’s Palaces, with the realisation of the temporary display of the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art, will become a true house of art and culture, a venue open to artists, and the most beautiful Christmas gift to all to all the people of Zadar and their guests.
The guests were welcomed by the Mayor of Zadar Branko Dukić, and in his speech Branko Franceschi, Director of the NMMU and curator of the “One World” exhibition highlighted this extremely significant cultural collaboration between Zadar and Zagreb.

Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Image: “One World” exhibition of the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art at the Providur’s Palace in Zadar. Photo: Goran Vranić and NMMU archives© National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022

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