Maksimilijan Vanka, Landscape, 1932.

Maksimilijan Vanka
Landscape, 1932.
oil on hardboard
50 x 65 cm
unit with frame: 63 x 78 cm

“Landscape” represents one of the three thematic units that Maksimilijan Vanka was preoccupied with during his artistic career. Along with portraits and folklore themes, he paints landscapes bathed in the light and warmth of the summer sun, highlighting regional and ethnographic details. His usage of warm, bright colours, without the admixture of black, connects Vanka with the painting of Van Gogh and the tradition of Flemish painting. Static scenes of untouched nature without people or romantic ruins have a calming effect on the observer, which is especially true of the paintings with motifs from Korčula. In addition to the Flemish influence, we should note the influence of Croatian plein air painters from the early 20th c., such as Mato Celestin Medović, his colour palette and endless landscapes.
Maksimilijan Vanka (1889-1963) was raised in Hrvatsko Zagorje until he was eight years old when he moved to Zagreb. He finished primary and secondary school in Zagreb. From 1908 to 1910, he received his art education at the Provisional College of Arts and Crafts with Bela Čikoš Sesija, and from 1911 to 1915 he continued his education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. From 1920 to 1934, he worked as a drawing teacher at the College of Arts and Crafts, and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb where he became a professor in 1923. He is credited with the introduction of the sanguine technique in our region, that is, the execution of drawing in red chalk. He lived in New York from 1934 to 1941, and in this period, besides the New York skyscrapers, his works were mostly inspired by social themes: beggars and the homeless, harbour bars, street fights, people from the docks; which connects him with the activities of the Zemlja Group from Zagreb. He founded an art colony on the island of Korčula where he spent his summers surrounded by fellow painters. He died in 1963 in Mexico.

Text: Zlatko Tot, curator-trainee 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

Ferdo Quiquerez, Landscape, 1874-1875

Ferdo Quiquerez
Landscape, 1874-1875
oil on canvas, 15.5x2645cm

On account of his small-format landscapes, Ferdo Quiquerez (1845-1893) is considered to be one of the founders of Realism in Croatia, along with the first generation of Croatian painters who attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, namely Iso Kršnjavi and Nikola Mašić. He studied painting with Mücke, making sketches for historical compositions. After having received a scholarship from Strossmayer in 1870, he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich where he studied under professor Karl von Piloty, a painter of historical compositions, and etcher Johann Leonard Raab. In 1872, he interrupted his schooling in Munich and went to Italy where he remained until 1875. He first resided in Venice (where he became acquainted with architectural vedute of Ippolito Caffi), and then in Rome and its surroundings where he copied works of art in churches and public collections. In Sorrento and on the island of Capri, together with Siemiradzki and Kršnjavi, he painted bright landscapes in plein-air by applying paint freely and in smears. In 1875, thanks to the Zadar-born painter Franjo Salghetti-Drioli, Quiquerez went to Montenegro where he became the court painter to Prince Nicholas. His studies are a faithful record of the people he encountered and regions that he passed through. In 1876, he returned to Zagreb and in 1878 he started teaching drawing at a grammar school. Modest teacher income and steady work were not enough to maintain quality of life of the already sickly Quiquerez.

Landscape from 1874 is one of Quiquerez’s few small-scale, harmonious realistic landscapes based on a solid system of masses and forms, devoid of description and unnecessary detailing. The manifestation of forms is harmonized in pure composition and linear perspective, that connects the picturesqueness of several colours (green, brown and grey that turns into shadow) surrounded by a sunny atmosphere. In this manner, he achieves a new structure of forms and paves the way for Modern art.

Text: Dajana Vlaisavljević, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: From the photo archive of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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