Đoko Mazalić | 1888 - 1975

National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina

From the collection of the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina

It would be difficult to find a person that left a deeper trace in BH art scene, whose field of activity was so broad and artistic work characterized by stylistic versatility and qualitative consistency, as Đoko Mazalić. His name will represent inescapable authority in the cultural life of Sarajevo throughout almost the entire third and fourth decade of the twentieth century, and he will enjoy equal respect from his colleagues from the region. Though he frequently encountered social ups and downs during the course of his life, they did not reflect much in his paintings.

There were some longer or shorter breaks in Mazalić's work, but when he was creating the works did not lose on quality. Even when he had been dismissed and neglected, written off as old and anachronistic, he was able to surprise with his freshness and contemporary feel in his work, often leaving his younger colleagues behind.

Mazalić's body of work does not follow evolutionary development, not even a chronological sequence. His first works already emanate artistic maturity, and painting cycles do not keep up with European trends.

"A rare restraint and distinction, a life lived at a distance from both people and events, an absolute control of himself and his powers, a prominent preference for research and science - a Cartesian spirit coupled with a proverbial Bosnian reticence and buttoned-up character, makes Đoko Mazalić an extraordinary phenomenon among BH artists in general."

Azra Begić

"I did not look up to anyone, both back then and through all my life alike, although I studied old and new masters with interest, and followed what was happening in artistic and social life."

Đoko Mazalić

Urban motifs represent specific poetry for Mazalić; colors and form are constrained and, even though they treat relatively similar motifs from everyday life, the city’s atmosphere is much calmer and sophisticated, and the liveliness and playfulness have been replaced by melancholy, sadness or mysticism (At the Doctor’s,1927, and Dependants, 1929)

The painting is made on a coarse jute individually primed, first with the mix of 80g of glue and 1000g of water. When this coating is dried, it is then then coated with the blend of zinc white (CNO) and linseed varnish. The paints are so-called Harzölfarben, from the company Fiebeler in Munich. Paint is applied with a wide brush, in a fairly polished manner.

Vladislav Skarić (Sarajevo, 1869 - Sarajevo, 1943) was a historian and from 1926 until 1936 worked as a director of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Đoko Mazalić was a curator. In 1930 he established the Gallery of Fine Arts within the same institution. The National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina was established in 1946 from the collection of the Gallery of Fine Arts.

Strength of painting strokes dominates, which in this case emphasizes the power of an individual predetermined to lead the mass or to dominate it with wisdom and prudence.

Being used to family life, when his parents moved from Sarajevo to Belgrade, Mazalić felt a need for companionship. So he married Mica Mazalić, a daughter of the late Edo Fisher (not Fischer), of Dutch descent, a former commissioner of the Austrian State Railways, and Isabelle, née Poznik, from a Slovenian Germanized family from Carinthia. Mica was born in Sarajevo, where her father served for some time. She was raised in Sarajevo, and felt a proper Yugoslavian, while both her sisters were German and lived in Austria.

Đoko Mazalić's paintings from the collection of the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina
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© 2017 National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina | Umjetnička galerija Bosne i Hercegovine

Đoko Mazalić, 1888 - 1975
Author: Ivana Udovičić
Photographs: Archive of the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Text: Exhibition catalogue "Đoko Mazalić, 1888 - 1975", SPKD "Prosvjeta", Sarajevo, 2017.


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