Menci Clement Crnčić
Sea, circa 1918
oil on canvas
Painter and graphic artist Menci Clement Crnčić studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna between 1882 and 1884, and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich under Prof. Nikolaos Gyzis between 1889 and 1892. After having worked briefly as a painting teacher at the School of Crafts in Zagreb, on the recommendation of painter, art historian, curator and politician Izidor Kršnjavi, in 1894 he was awarded a scholarship to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he studies graphic arts under Prof. William Unger. He moved back to Zagreb in 1900, where in 1903 – together with painter Bela Čikoš Sesija – he opened a private art school, which first grew into the College of Arts and Crafts, and then into the Academy of Fine Arts, where he taught between 1907 and 1930. He became a member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1919. Between 1920 and 1928, he also headed the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters (at today’s Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) in Zagreb.
Menci Clement Crnčić was not only important for the development of modern graphic arts in Croatia, but was also a prominent seascape painter. Painted in daylight and featuring a skilful and convincing Realism, his marinas resemble bold photographic clippings that capture a wide array of weather conditions, ranging from rain, strong northerlies, easterlies and westerlies to perfectly smooth seas, and their effects on its surface.
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