A Forest, 1900
oil on canvas
Oton Iveković (1869-1939) studied painting in Zagreb under painter Ferdo Quiquerez, then from 1886 in Vienna under painters Christian Griepenkerl and August Eisenmenger, and finally in Munich under Wilhelm von Lindenschmit the Younger and in Karlsruhe under painter Ferdinand von Keller. He worked as a drawing teacher at a grammar school in Zagreb, from 1895 at the School of Crafts and from 1908 at the College of Arts (today’s Academy of Fine Arts). In 1908, Iveković was elected as president of the Lada Croatian Artists’ Association. He travelled across Croatia, Italy, Germany and the USA, and during World War I he worked as a war artist. Besides Menci Clement Crnčić, Iveković is considered to be one of the most prominent representatives of Historicism in Croatia, particularly of patriotically inspired and inspirited History Painting. Towards the end of his life, he retreated to the fortress of Veliki Tabor in Croatia’s north-western region of Zagorje.
The popularity of Oton Iveković as a history painter has often pushed into the background his exceptional talent for and achievements in depicting realistically the atmosphere of one of the seasons in his landscapes. One of the most beautiful examples of this is his A Forest from 1900, which is a simple vertical composition divided into three parts: the upper third of the painting is a depiction of a grey and foggy autumn sky, the central third is occupied by the red hues of forest leaves in autumn, and the lower third depicts a grass-covered clearing in front of the forest in dark greens and light ochres.
Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, senior curator 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