An Interior with a Chest of Drawers, 1938
tempera on paper
During her career as an artist, Marta Ehrlich drew and painted numerous cityscapes, the most interesting of which are those depicting Paris. The view of most of her compositions seems to be from the inside looking outwards, from an interior directed towards an exterior. The angle is always slightly raised, and her paintings are dominated by trees which she painted in their entirety, through whose canopy the eye makes its way so as to recognise, down below, at the very bottom of her scenes, a pavement with human figures reduced to stains, while the top of her compositions is dominated by rooftops and the sky. The logic of the interior we are bringing here is reversed. That is, the composition looks as if it was painted from the outside looking inside. Quite in line with the difference between public (city) and private life which Modernism in art has insisted on since its very beginnings, Marta Ehrlich’s interior exudes a calm, meditative atmosphere, which is contributed to the most not only by her choice of pastel colours, but also by the depth of the space she depicted.
Marta Ehrlich Tompa (1910-1980) attended painter Vladimir Becić’s private painting school in Zagreb from 1929 to 1934. Between 1935 and 1938, she studied in Paris. After World War II, she rejected the style of painting of the School of Paris and started turning increasingly to themes and symbols which she portrayed in the vein of Abstract Art. She also designed pottery, worked on fabric designs and created stage designs.
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