Branislav Dešković, Dog Tracking, 1912.

Branislav Dešković
(1883 – 1939)
Dog Tracking, 1912.
casting, bronze
24 x 40 x 17.5 cm

Branislav Dešković attended the advanced course of the Italian sculptor Antonio Dal Zòtto at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice (1903-1905). He stayed briefly in Vienna, and in 1907 he moved to Paris, where he regularly exhibited at the Salons (1908-1921).
Dešković’s earliest works were influenced by Academicism and the Italian Verists. During his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, he sculpted a series of realist portrait reliefs, such as the Portrait of a Bearded Man from 1904. Whenever he travelled to Croatia, he modelled sculptures under the influence of the patriotic ideology, and in the spirit of Art Nouveau and stylised monumentalism. After having led a bohemian lifestyle and once his health started deteriorating, in 1921 he settled down in Split.
He is best known for his dynamic sculptures of hunting dogs modelled as freestanding sculptures and in typical poses, and is considered to be the most prominent animalist in Croatian modern sculpture. He modelled them under the influence of Rodin’s sculpture, in his very own version of Impressionism.
Dešković was a passionate hunter and, as a connoisseur of animals, he modelled hunting dogs performing different tasks and in various poses. A Dog Tracking is a perfect impression of a hunting dog frozen in action. The entire elongated body of the hunting dog is nervously tense and focused on its primary task.

Text: Tatijana Gareljić, 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

Anka Krizmanić, The Nova Ves Working-Class Suburb, 1912

Anka Krizmanić
The Nova Ves Working-Class Suburb, 1912
oil on canvas
40.5×50 cm

Anka Krizmanić (1896-1987) attended Tomislav Krizman’s private art school from 1910 to 1913, and the School of Applied Arts (Kunstgewerbeschule) in Dresden from 1913 to 1917. She lived in Paris between 1920 and 1930. In 1910 she started exhibiting with the Medulić Association of Croatian Artists. After having had a successful career, in 1986 a retrospective exhibition of Krizmanić’s work was organised in Zagreb.
Anka Krizmanić’s oeuvre includes a wide array of media from drawings, prints, pastels and oil on canvas to sgraffiti, tapestries, fashion drawings and illustrations, and puppetry sketches. The psychological characterisation of her portraits is acute.

Although Anka Krizmanić’s The Nova Ves Working-Class Suburb veduta from 1912 is an early painting of hers, it nevertheless displays an enviable level of artistic maturity. The contrast between a clearly geometrically structured landscape including a depiction of a hill in the background and the industrial architecture of the modern era in the foreground of the painting is accentuated by Krizmanić’s use of colour – the architecture in the foreground is painted in darker brown tones, while the landscape in the background features pastel yellows and greens.

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

Miroslav Kraljević, Assassination, 1912

Miroslav Kraljević
Assassination, 1912
ink on paper

From amongst the drawings that Miroslav Kraljević created during his one-year stay in Paris – i.e., from September 1911 to October 1912 – his Assassination should be singled out. More specifically, it is not only his only drawing that refers to politics, but is also his only work as such – whether a painting, drawing, sculpture or graphic art – that can be linked more closely to the political and social unrest in Europe at the time. Kraljević did not depict a specific event, although some researchers later tried to link it to the assassination of Croatian Ban Slavko Cuvaj, which took place in May 1912 in Zagreb. Although the assassination of Ban Cuvaj may have indeed motivated Kraljević to draw it, his Assassination is definitely not a depiction of the said event if for no other reason than the fact that Ban Cuvaj was in a car when he was assassinated. Kraljević’s Assassination is an attempt to portray a new form of political, extra-parliamentary struggle rather than a portrayal of an actual event. This is supported by the fact that, whilst in Paris, Kraljević collaborated with Panurge, a satirical magazine whose mission and focus was on current social events. What sets an act of terrorism apart from other forms of violence is that it appears suddenly and is violently acute, and it is precisely these qualities that Kraljević succeeded in depicting. Rearing, frightened horses, a carriage which is unnaturally distorted as if it were a creature pulling away from a revolver pointed at it, and the figure of the assassin whose legs and hand holding the revolver are overemphasised (as if the assassin’s other parts of the body did not exist) are only some of the features of this exceptional drawing.

Miroslav Kraljević was one of the pioneers of modern painting in Croatia. He was born in 1885 in Požega in the region of Slavonia. In 1904 he dropped out of law school in Vienna to be able to devote himself to painting. After having graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, he moved to Paris in 1911. He died in Zagreb in 1913.

Text: Klaudio Štefančić, 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

Miroslav Kraljević, Self-portrait, 1912

Miroslav Kraljević
Self-portrait, 1912
oil on canvas, 64 x 45 cm

Miroslav Kraljević (1885–1913) hails from a prominent Slavonian family. He was educated in Zagreb in the period from 1898 to 1902, and then spent two years in Gospić attending grammar school. In the autumn of 1904, he started studying law in Vienna and was also taking Georg Fischhof’s painting classes. After having abandoned law school, he started attending graphic artist Moritz Heymann’s private school in Munich in 1906/07. In May 1907, he was admitted to the Munich Academy where he studied under Hugo von Habermann and socialised with Josip Račić and Vladimir Becić (the Munich Circle). After he graduated, Kraljević returned to Požega in 1910 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.

Kraljević’s Self-portrait from 1912, painted one year before his death, completes a series of the artist’s self-portraits, which began with the renowned Self-portrait with a Dog, painted in 1910. Unlike the realistic depiction and the Munich manner of tonal painting in the self-portrait from 1910, where the artist’s youth and health are emphasised by the vitality of the dog in the centre lower part of the painting, in the Self-portrait from 1912, in turn, the physicality of the artist’s tuberculosis-ridden figure has completely disappeared in the expressionist treatment of the energetic, long brush stroke. Facial features are devoid of meticulous treatment and only indicated with a rough pennelatta thus enhancing the expressive effect of the whole. The concrete ambience of the room from the earlier self-portrait in a seated position and painted almost in full height, is replaced with a depiction of a bust and a focus on the face emerging from the anonymous, dark olive-green background suggesting the artist’s body weakened by disease and imminent death.

Tekst: 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

Miroslav Kraljević, Golgotha, 1912

Miroslav Kraljević
Golgotha, 1912
oil on canvas: 72.1 x 115.3 cm

In his Golgotha from 1912, Miroslav Kraljević situates the main motif of the Crucifixion deep within the scene, highlighting the contorted body of Christ with just a light accent. The foreground is dominated by the deformed figures of soldiers hunched over a game of dice, and the upright Longinus leaning against a lance. The expressiveness of the composition, the ominously bare ambience and the strong colour symbolism make this one of the seminal paintings in Kraljević’s Parisian oeuvre, but also for a new generation of painters that was just being formed in Zagreb.

Miroslav Kraljević hails from a wealthy noble family in Slavonia, who soon after starting his law studies in Vienna decided to switch and study painting in Munich instead. From 1905 to 1910, Josip Račić, Vladimir Becić and Oskar Herman had also been students at the Academy in Munich in the class of Professor Hugo Habermann. What connects painters of this Munich Circle are primarily their orientations towards European modernity, similar starting points and role models. After having graduated from the Munich Academy, Kraljević returned to Požega in 1910. He painted intensively and after having received excellent reviews he moved to Paris in 1911. In Paris he merged all previous artistic experiences with bold exploration of new ideas and styles, and created a number of excellent portraits, self-portraits, genre scenes and vedute. Not even a year later, seriously illness forced him to return home. Having created an oeuvre of the utmost importance for the development of our modern painting, Kraljević died of tuberculosis in Zagreb in 1913, not even 28 years old

Text: Lada Bošnjak Velagić, senior curator 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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