(1911 – 1973)
Antun Vrančić, 1944
61 x 44 mm
Tomislav Krizman, 1945
d. 43 mm
Ivan Jeger belongs to a small group of students from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb who, during their full-time studies (1932-1936), chose the profession of a medallist. After having completed his studies, he took an advanced course (1936-1938) under Ivo Kerdić and, as a talented master, remained Kerdić’s collaborator in his studio until 1945. From 1947 onwards, after further training in Prague, he taught metalwork at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb.
He dedicated his entire professional career to medal making. His first medal, Old Majerić, was executed in 1938 under the influence of his professor, Ivo Kerdić. Later on, particularly in the field of portrait miniature sculpture, he skilfully synthesised forms and abstracted details, and produced some of his best works. He also created a series of medals, plaques, and badges for cultural and sports events, as well as other social occasions, featuring figurative and symbolic compositions.
In 1944, members of the Numismatic Society commissioned Jeger to create a plaque of the renowned Šibenik humanist Antun Vrančić, requesting that his likeness be based on a copperplate engraving by Martin Kolunić-Rota from the 16th century. Jeger masterfully reproduced what he saw, successfully transferring one medium to another. All the details of the copperplate were faithfully rendered in high relief. The following year, working in a similar manner based on an older graphic template, he designed the plaque of Ivan Kitonić.
Jeger achieved the pinnacle of his artistic expression as a medallist in the portrait medal of Tomislav Krizman from 1945. The work is executed in high relief with skilful light modelling. Through emphasised plasticity and restless form, he achieved the finest psychological characterisation of our prominent graphic artist and his dynamic inner life.
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