Iulian Plestiu, director of Artmark Croatia for the NMMU on the occasion of the “Summer Prelude” exhibition from the NMMU Collection in the Artmark Gallery

NMMU: Can you tell us something more about the cooperation between Artmark and the National Museum of Modern Art?
IULIAN PLESTIU: the collaboration between Artmark and NMMU gives a wider view over the necessity of collaboration between private and public entities, especially in the Cultural and Artistic realm. Artmark, as a private cultural endeavour in Central and Eastern Europe, knows about the importance of open channels of communication and collaboration with public cultural institutions, so we extended an invitation for an open platform for discussions. In such specific times and moments in Zagreb's cultural existence, NMMU's director, Mr. Branko Franceschi, was more than open and proactive for a joint collaboration between the most important Croatian Institution dedicated to Fine Arts and let's be honest, a new actor in Zagreb's cultural scene, so I take this occasion to thank him for his openness.

NMMU: What's the significance of this cooperation for your renowned auction house?
IULIAN PLESTIU: have to repeat myself and press on the importance of the collaboration between Cultural institutions and the private sector. An Art Market cannot be built without bridges and connections between professionals, experts and Academia on one side and Auction houses and commercial professionals on the other. This type of collaboration is one of the most important ones for us as a Gallery and Auction House because it creates an open platform for professionals to interact on both sides. As a museum needs to be alive in its connection with the cultural and art market, the same goes for a private gallery and auction house to be as professional and transparent.

NMMU: Is it the first Artmark's project of this kind?
IULIAN PLESTIU: Artmark, with its Romanian based background and 15 years of experience, had different types of collaborations throughout its existence, with its cultural division. Opening up towards the Croatian Cultural scene is a new endeavour, but its main goal is to establish a professional platform for the art market in Croatia, for the Croatian public, collectors, art historians and professionals. But the collaboration with NMMU specifically is the first of its kind here and hopefully many more are going to happen.

NMMU: Do you have plans for any future international cooperation / (in terms of presentation of Croatian art or artists in Romania)?
IULIAN PLESTIU: International connections would be a great result of course. Presenting Croatian art in a new market should be top of the list for everybody involved in the Art World here.

NMMU: Works of which Croatian artists are of particular interest on the Eastern European art market?
IULIAN PLESTIU: Artmark's main goal is to dedicate its energy into firstly organizing the local art market. A sturdy and established local art market can then be more relevant for the Central and Eastern European art market. But of course, the Croatian art "exports" can be found throughout the 20th Century up to contemporary days.

NMMU: Do you collaborate with any Croatian artists?
IULIAN PLESTIU: Auction houses usually represent the secondary market, so collaboration with contemporary artists is usually handled by gallerists and galleries. Of course, the auction plastform is here to give also contemporary artists an additional channel and means of selling and being represented.

NMMU:From your experience, how does the art market function in Croatia?
IULIAN PLESTIU: the art market in Croatia is full of opportunities. The rich history of art, collectionism, institutions, the old and new galleries. All of these, helped by the established names from modern, post-war and contemporary art offer a range of opportunities for all the actors in the Art Market, public and private alike. Of course, everybody should focus on the "end user": the visitor, the enthusiast or the Collector. Also, Artmark answers the need for a new model of business, transparent, professional, easily accessible, with a live and online platform for its auction events.

Interviewed by: Lana Šetka © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023.
Photo: Iulian Plestiu, director of Artmark's Croatia, in front of "The Cynic" Vilko Gecan's anthology work from 1921, from the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art in the "Summer Prelude" exhibition display at the Artmark Gallery. Photo: © Artmark

Skip to content