Composition IV, 1961
oil on hardboard, 170x122 cm
170 x 122 cm
Šime Perić (1920-2019) was a figurative-abstract fantasist and a classic of Croatian painting. During the 1950s, his works developed from impressionistic colouristic figuration into gesture- and Tachisme-based abstraction. After his darkish Art Informel period during the 1960s, in the 1970s he produced paintings of refined yet colouristically intense expression. He started abandoning quadrangular canvases and sometimes painted tondos, whose circular form evokes the archetypal image of an island. In the 1980s he began sculpting as well, and successfully so. In 1949 he spent a semester studying fresco painting in Paris at the National School of Fine Arts, which turned out to be of crucial importance for Perić’s painting and expanded his horizons intellectually. He graduated from the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade in 1952 and worked as an associate at painter Krsto Hegedušić’s master workshop until 1957. He taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb between 1969 and 1984.
The motif of stain and its transformation into colouristic centrifugal and centripetal motion is one of the bedrocks of Perić’s oeuvre. His Composition IV painting from 1961 defines Art Informel in Croatia both chronologically and morphologically. The painting is executed by grading clusters of formless, magma-like matter. It lies at the crossroads of factuality, the physical materiality of painting and the feelings of restlessness and existential angst it expresses.
Šime Perić is the recipient of the 1989 Vladimir Nazor Lifetime Achievement Award given yearly by Croatia’s Ministry of Culture. In 2003 Perić’s monograph was authored by art historians Tonko Maroević and Mladenka Šolman. In 2007, the 12th leg of the White Road in the Dubrova Sculpture Park near the town of Labin in Istria was built based on Perić’s designs.
Text: Željko Marciuš, 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