Vincent stirbt, 1990/1991
mixed media on canvas
70 x 50 cm
After graduating from the School of Graphic Arts in Zagreb, the self-taught outsider artist Drago Trumbetaš (1938 – 2018) spent most of his life in Germany working as a type-setter and manual labourer. Since his first trip abroad in 1966, he has been recording in drawings his personal, but also collective experience of hard daily life in a foreign metropolis and the economically conditioned alienated existence of migrant workers. He presented the experience of migrant workers to the public in 1975 with the publication of a print portfolio from the series Gastarbeiter. In addition to his works dealing with social issues, drawn from real life, which often contain irony and criticism of the consumer society and depict the position of an anonymous individual (print portfolios Untere Menschen, 1981; Bankfurt ist Krankfurt, 1982), Trumbetaš’s oeuvre also includes works dedicated to artists and writers he held in high esteem (van Gogh, A. G. Matoš, M. Krleža). Vincent stirbt (Vincent dies) is a work from the cycle Dear Vincent, composed of pictorial representations, sometimes in epistolary forms, that are Trumbetaš’s personal reflections and identifications with van Gogh’s life and vocation. Vincent Dies is how Trumbetaš conceived of Vincent’s final moments from the position of a close observer staged as a free interpretation of Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles in which he “displays” van Gogh’s well-known works (Wheatfield with Crows, Self-portrait, etc.), and places the dying Vincent in an empty bed. In addition to drawings and prints, Trumbetaš also tried his hand in writing comic books (Turopoljski top, 1992 – 1993), dramas (Sadists/Non-Smoker, 1980; Thief, 1987, Der Kassierer, 1996), poems and novels (Smokers and Non-Smokers, 2009 – 2013). Several documentaries and features were made about his life, and in 2001 a monograph was published edited by Tonko Maroević. In 2002, he received the Zagreb County Lifetime Achievement Award.
Text: Željko Marciuš, 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