Marijan Trepše
Olive Grove (Orchard), 1919
oil, canvas
56 x 48 cm

With his earliest works, such as the Olive Grove (Orchard), Marijan Trepše presents himself as the creator of a powerful new expression and painterly thought, free from mimesis that he shared his entire life with Milivoj Uzelac, who is the reason he came to Prague in 1919. In the spirit of contemporary European art trends, Trepše developed Kraljević’s interpretation of Cézanneism, a constructivist manner of painting, a specific green-ochre colour palette and a curved tree motif, into a menacing scene full of tensions. The frame is structured without a solid focal point and illuminated with supernatural and sharp contrasts and suggests uncertainty as a general frame of mind.
Marijan Trepše graduated in painting in Zagreb in 1918. During his subsequent training in Prague, he studied under Professor Max Švabinský and created mainly prints, after which he moved to Paris. After the war, the so-called Prague Four group of young artists, who just started exhibiting at the Spring Salon, admired Trepše for being their closest link to Kraljević’s modern ideas. Trepše’s works from the first decade of his career are significant for the development of modern visual expression in Croatia, while his later oeuvre is characterized primarily by technical virtuosity. In addition to his substantial graphic arts oeuvre, he also created stained glass windows, for example ‘Golgotha’, which was installed in 1935 in the Chapel of the Wounded Christ in Ilica Street in Zagreb. As a set designer in the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb from 1925 to 1957, he created as many as 129 stage designs.

Text: Lada Bošnjak Velagić, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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