Marijan Trepše, At an Inn, 1919

Marijan Trepše
At an Inn, 1919
oil on cardboard
43,7 × 51.7 cm

Marijan Trepše’s earliest works, such as the painting At an Inn from 1919, present him as a powerful expressionist. Trepše developed Paul Cézanne’s postulate of pure painting and Miroslav Kraljević’s fascinating departure from symbolic and figurative painting in accordance with what were then contemporary post-war European artistic trends. He replaced the fine cafes and sleek ladies that Kraljević frequented and painted in Paris as little as a few years earlier with obscure and eerie inns strongly reminiscent of sinister scenes from German expressionist films. Much like in Fritz Lang’s films, everything in Trepše’s composition is suggestive of fear and discomfort. In the post-war period, the young artists of The Prague Four group of artists who just started exhibiting at the Spring Salon in Zagreb admired Trepše for being their closest link to Kraljević’s modern ideas.

Marijan Trepše graduated in painting in Zagreb. During his subsequent training in Prague, he created mainly prints under Professor Max Švabinský, after which he moved to Paris. Trepše painted his best works in the first decade of his career, with his later work characterised by virtuosity of technique. Besides prints, he created stained glass windows, of which his Golgotha mounted in 1935 in the Chapel of the Wounded Jesus in Zagreb’s Ilica Street stands out. Having worked as a stage designer for the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, in the period from 1925 to 1957 he created as many as 129 stage designs.

Text: Lada Bošnjak Velagić, 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

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