Self-portrait with a Pipe, 1912
oil / canvas
40 x 30 cm
After completing his secondary school education in Zagreb and Gospić, Miroslav Kraljević (1885–1913) began studying law in Vienna, which he interrupted to study painting. In 1906/07, he attended the private school of the graphic artist Moritz Heymann in Munich, and in May 1907 he was admitted to the Munich Academy of Fine Arts where he studied under Hugo von Habermann and socialized with Josip Račić and Vladimir Becić (the Munich Circle). After he graduated in 1910, Kraljević returned to Požega and painted intensively until September 1911, when he moved to Paris and enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, which he soon abandoned. He first worked in Meštrović’s studio and then his own in Montparnasse. He published caricatures in the satirical magazine Panurge. In 1912, he had his first and only solo exhibition in the Ulrich Salon in Zagreb. He died of tuberculosis in 1913.
In the vertical format, the painter situates his figure in the interior, shown at chest height and in right 3/4 profile. He holds a pipe in his mouth. The brushstroke is visible, pronounced and applied in thick impasto, contributing to the expressionist energy of the whole, as well as the shadowy gaze directed at the observer. The dark colour gamut predominates (the Munich manner of tonal painting), with lighter accents of the flesh tones, white shirt and vest peeking from under the jacket.
Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, 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