Krsto Hegedušić, Pater noster, 1965

Krsto Hegedušić
Pater noster, 1965
tempera on canvas; mixed media
120 x 140 cm

Krsto Hegedušić (1901 – 1975) is an exceptional Croatian painter with a distinct critical edge. His oeuvre is found at the crossroads of the heritage of Flemish Renaissance (P. Breughel), the primitive, naïve and the so-called our expression, and engaged Realism – naturalism under the influence of New Objectivity (G. Grosz). He has also adopted the experiences of Expressionism, Cubism, Fauvism and Surrealism, all of which contributed to the original critical substrate. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1926 (Lj. Babić, T. Krizman; V. Becić’s advanced course) and continued his studies in Paris from 1926 to 1928. With L. Junek, he helped found the Earth Association of Artists and organize their exhibitions (1929 – 1935) until they were banned by the police. Since 1930, in Hlebine, he gave painting lessons to peasants (I. Generalić, F. Mraz) and then showed their work at the exhibition of the Earth Association (1931). In 1932, he published a collection of social-critical drawings titled Podravina Motifs with a foreword written by M. Krleža. Because of his socialist beliefs, he was imprisoned several times. In 1937, he became a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, and since the 1950s he taught a Master Workshop. He illustrated Krleža’s Ballads of Petrica Kerempuh (1946). In the post-war period, he synthesized his style by painting anxiety-ridden and alienated urban motifs. The painting Pater Noster (1965) refers to the hopeless multiplication of identical urban identity, cloned individuals on a conveyor belt – the escalator of modernity. He encouraged the establishment of the Fine Arts Archive and the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He made the ceremonial curtain of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb (Anno Domini 1573) in 1969, and was the recipient of the “Vladimir Nazor” Lifetime Achievement Award in 1970.

Text: Željko Marciuš, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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