Ljubo Ivančić, Figure, 1969

Ljubo Ivančić
Figure, 1969
oil on hardboard
130 x 200 cm
MG-2826

Ljubo Ivančić (1925 – 2003) is a doyen of Croatian expressive material figurative and abstract art at the intersection of existential painting and Art Informel. (Self)portraits and nudes are a thematic constant in his oeuvre. Ivančić’s painting is imbued with tragedy, absurdity and the grotesqueness of life. He draws his formative stimuli from the works of Croatian Mediterranean modernists imbued with matter and atmosphere (E. Vidović, M. Tartaglia, J. Plančić, I. Job), while he conveys an existential burden by intertwining tradition and modernity (Rembrandt, F. Goya, G. Rouault, F. Bacon). The artist’s achromatic and chromatic colour register has at first passed through a saturated, materially-dark filter that will be brightened in the 1970s and the colour will continue to intensify until the mid-1990s. Ivančić’s method of depicting disproportionately elongated and deformed characters, with allusive shapes, but also an atmosphere of evocative scenes, is another characteristic feature. After having participated in the National Liberation Struggle since 1942, he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1949 (advanced course – Đ. Tiljak), where he also worked as a professor (1961 – 1979) and led the Master’s Workshop (1975 – 1984). He became a full member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1991. The Figure from 1969, belongs to the recognisable enactment of Ivančić’s nudes. It reflects the polarity between the naturalistic existence of the female being represented by the translucent volume of the body – determined mainly by the contour – and the mostly achromatic material background permeated with sporadic emanations and ultimate absorption. Ivančić’s nudes are not beautiful. They are honest. They represent an epitome of existential nudity.

Text: Željko Marciuš, museum counsellor of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023.
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023.
Translated by: Robertina Tomić

Zlatko Kauzlarić Atač, Nameless, 1969

Zlatko Kauzlarić Atač
(1945)
Nameless, 1969
oil on canvas
130×130 cm
MG-6852

Zlatko Kauzlarić Atač (1945) is a socially engaged Croatian figurative painter who has been, according to art historian Zdenko Rus, confirming the thesis on the “permanence of the figurative” even during High Modernism which is averse to Figurative Art. He was a prominent member of the Biafra Art Group which was active in Zagreb between 1970 and 1978, and which stood against Abstract Art because it “deprives man of his central role in art”. In 1974 the group started organising exhibitions and actions on the streets. Since social engagement was characteristic of Atač’s painting, the themes he chose revolved around the hardships of reality. He dealt with the issues of humanism in modern society, bureaucracy, politics and culture. His expressive and powerful figuration and naturalist methods are typical of his work.

Depicting the motif of a homeless person, Zlatko Kauzlarić Atač’s Nameless painting from 1969 is an example of his fierce criticism of the social system. His transfer of photography to canvas is an original painterly technique, which creates the impression of greyness and photographic naturalism with the help of photo emulsion. His fabric inserts have their origins in Art Informel.

Since the 1970s, he has been designing stage sets and costumes at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb and other theatres both in Croatia and abroad. As far as his painting is concerned, he later softened his style, started using refined, thickly applied coats of paint in his striking portraits, and in the 1980s he began drawing and painting eroticised female nudes, after which he turned to his own body and intimate world. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1968 under Prof. Miljenko Stančić, after which he worked as an associate at Krsto Hegedušić’s master workshop (1968-1974). He taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, where he became a full professor in 1996 and was its dean between 2002 and 2006. Since 1989, he has also been teaching design at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb. He has exhibited at many solo and group exhibitions in both Croatia and abroad, and has received numerous awards for his artistic and theatrical work.

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

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