Miroslav Kraljević, Podvezica, 1910.

Miroslav Kraljević
(1885. – 1913.)
Podvezica, 1910.

Miroslav Kraljević (1885-1913)
A Garter

Miroslav Kraljević was a Croatian painter, graphic artist and sculptor, who studied in Vienna, Munich and Paris. Having been a member – together with painters Josip Račić and Vladimir Becić – of what was dubbed the Munich Circle, he is considered to be one of the pioneers of modern painting in Croatia.
After having graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, he moved to Požega in June 1910 to stay with his family, after which he left for Paris in September 1911. During his stay in Požega, he created realistic sculptures, such as a portrait of his niece Ivana, relief portraits of Požega-born writers Janko Jurković, Josip Eugen Tomić and Vjekoslav Babukić, and a portrait plaque of his father.
Kraljević’s creative power in sculpture is primarily reflected in his figurative compositions of rural women and men prone to debauchery, good examples of which are his A Fight and Drunkards sculptures. He modelled these dynamic small sculptures in terracotta, given that terracotta is the most pliable medium to present detailed observations of sequences of debauched human nature.
Kraljević’s A Garter sculpture from 1910 precedes these two sculptures. It is a sculpture of a woman of a pronouncedly raw sensuality with a flirtatious attitude featuring minimal portrait traits, a diabolical smile on her face, high cheekbones and a square chin. Kraljević continued to elaborate the form of this mature coquette from Požega in a twisted body posture wearing a domed crinoline in his many Parisian drawings of women.

Text: tatijana Gareljić, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

Mihovil Krušlin, A View of Zagreb, 1910




A View of Zagreb, 1910

oil on wood, 18 x 47 cm



After his first painting lessons with Joso Bužan, Mihovil Krušlin (1882–1962) went on to study and graduate from the College of Arts and Fine Crafts in Zagreb in 1911, in the class of Menci Clement Crnčić. He then studied in Paris and Italy. He had his first solo exhibition in Zagreb in 1910, and he participated in the exhibition of the “Lada” Association of Yugoslav Artists, held in Zagreb in 1912 and 1920, and in Osijek in 1921. His two retrospective exhibitions were held in Brdovec in 1976 and in Zagreb in 1982.

In his painting, Krušlin continued the tradition of Academic Realism and pleinairism, without the influence of the more avant-garde tendencies. In his lyrical watercolours, critics particularly emphasize the artistic value of their refined tonal gradations. His themes are mostly landscapes and regional vedutas of Croatia. This small oil on wood titled A View of Zagreb from 1910 shows a veduta of Zagreb at night in a horizontal format. The panoramic, nocturnal vedutas of cities are rendered with blotches of paint in the tradition of the Italian Macchiaioli, whose painting Krušlin could have seen in person during his stay in Italy. Although his approach to the theme is conservative and it is executed in the traditional manner of 19th century painting study, the visual quality is nonetheless captivating, with balanced colourway ranging from brown to bluish and purple night tones and skilful, sketchy brushstrokes.

Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, Museum advisor of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art

Translated by: Robertina Tomić

Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

Miroslav Kraljević, Self-portrait with a Dog, 1910

Miroslav Kraljević
Self-portrait with a Dog, 1910
oil on canvas, 111.7 x 85.7 cm

After having been educated in Zagreb and Gospić, Miroslav Kraljević (1885–1913) enrolled to study law in Vienna in 1906, which he then interrupted in order to study painting. In 1906/07, he started attending the private school of graphic artist Moritz Heymann in Munich, and in May 1907 he was accepted at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich where he studied under Hugo von Habermann and socialized with Josip Račić and Vladimir Becić (the three became known as the Munich Circle). After he graduated, Kraljević returned to Požega in 1910 and painted intensively until 1911, when he moved to Paris, where he enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, which he soon left. He first worked in Meštrović’s studio and then his own in Montparnasse. He published caricatures in the satirical magazine Panurge. In 1912, he staged his first and only solo exhibition at the Ulrich Salon in Zagreb. He died of tuberculosis in 1913.

The emblematic Self-portrait with a Dog, which Kraljević painted in Požega during the final year of his studies in Munich, shows the painter alongside a vital image of the animal in a relationship of obvious affection. The characters are placed in an intimate interior, in the background of which are prominent outlines of Diego Velázquez’s (1599–1660) portrait, as one of Kraljević’s painting role-models. The gaze of the painter and the German shepherd beside him are suggestively aimed at the observer. The composition in dark tonalities still has traditional overtones, although a freer and more energetic brushstroke is already visible with glimpses of specific expressionist energy

Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, Museum advisor of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022.
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022.

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