Miroslav Kraljević, A Bon Vivant (a portrait of Arsen Masovčić), 1912

Miroslav Kraljević (1885-1913)
A Bon Vivant (a portrait of Arsen Masovčić), 1912
oil on canvas
91.5×65.5 cm

After having lived and studied in Gospić, Zagreb and Vienna, in 1906 Miroslav Kraljević moved to Munich, where in May 1907 he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich under Prof. Hugo von Habermann. At the academy in Munich he socialised with Croatian painters Josip Račić and Vladimir Becić (the three became known as the Munich Circle). After he completed his studies in Munich, Kraljević returned to Požega in 1910 and painted intensively until September 1911, when he moved to Paris, where he enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, which he soon left. He first worked at Meštrović’s studio and then at his own in Montparnasse. He published caricatures in the satirical magazine Panurge. In 1912 he had his first and only solo exhibition set up at the Ullrich Salon in Zagreb. He died of tuberculosis in 1913.

Miroslav Kraljević’s A Bon Vivant painting from 1912 is a waist-up portrait of a seated figure of a young man dressed in a black dandy suit, a white shirt, a bow tie, a top hat and a cane. The motif reflects the urban milieu and lifestyle of the person portrayed. The painting is dominated by grey hues featuring a red accent on the armchair, with the brushstrokes visible and smeary. The way Kraljević treated the figure’s facial features creates the impression of an expressionist mask.

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

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