CROATIAN ART OF THE 2nd HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY

Collection of Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik's Summer (1956) by Ivo DulčićMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

MULTIPLE LANGUAGES OF ART

The second half of the 20th century in art in Croatia, as everywhere else in the world, was marked by pluralism of styles: surrealism and the simultaneous presence of figuration and abstraction. 

Human Relations (1957) by Ivo DulčićMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

1950s

In abstraction, two basic trends can be seen. In the first the emphasis is on subjective expression (Art Informel, Lyrical Abstraction, Abstract Expressionism, Tachism), while the second rationalises expression and constructs an aesthetic object (Geometrical Abstraction, Kinetic Art, Op Art, Minimal Art). 

Promenade by Miljenko StančicMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

In the early fifties in Zagreb a new wave of Surrealism or fantasy appeared; it started with the new, post-war generation of painters headed by Miljenko Stančić, in which dreams and reveries, eroticism and the subconscious are merged in a perfection painting reminiscent of the old masters.

Metal Sculpture, Dušan Džamonja, 1968, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

What kind of achievements Informel produced on the Croatian and European art scene in the fifties is shown by the works of Ivo Gattin and Eugen Feller as well as the sculptures of Dušan Džamonja.

1959 (1959) by Dušan DžamonjaMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Sea Monster, Ferdinand Kulmer, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

In the late fifties, we can also find Informel works in the oeuvre of Šime Perić, Ljubo Ivančić and Ferdinand Kulmer, who during the course of his highly creative career systematically also returned to figuration, as the Kulmer pieces of the early eighties show, connected in their contents to allegory and myth.

The Dark Street, Ferdinand Kulmer, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

Ferdinand Kulmer attended a special painting course at Đuro Tiljak’s from 1948 to 1950, and was an assistant at the master workshop of Krsto Hegedušić from 1950 to 1957. From 1957 he was a member of the Mart group, and of the Forum Gallery group from 1969

Sky and Earth, Ljubo Ivančic, 1959, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

The Informel style is present in the oeuvre of Šime Perić, Ljubo Ivančić and Ferdinand Kulmer.

Interior (1956) by Antun MotikaMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Most of the artists practised their abstract expression by the reduction of a real-life original to a fundamental visual and associative impression. This process is particularly visible in the painters Antun Motika, Marino Tartaglia, Marijan Detoni, Oton Postružnik, Ivo Šebalj and Slavko Kopač in the second half of the fifties.

Two Figures, Ivan Kožarić, Between 1956 and 1957, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

Impressive works of abstract sculpture were created by (among others) Ivan Kožarić, Vojin Bakić, Dušan Džamonja, Branko Ružić and Šime Vulas.

The Shape of Space XVIII, Ivan Kožarić, 1964, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

The vitalising principle of play is the main characteristic of his working process.

Torso (1966) by Ivan KožarićMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Ivan Kožarić
Kožarić is one of the most prolific and influential of Croatian sculptors, the author of many public monuments,

Kožarić has always been apt to experiments and sudden changes of language in sculpting and has also tried his hand at drawing, painting and photography.

Lightbearing Forms (Between 1963 and 1964) by Vojin BakićMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Produced a series of public monuments in the post-war period. Unlike most public post-war monuments, characterised by emotional gestures and heavy with rhetoric, Bakić’s show his interest in testing out the value of volume and surface, drawing on the experience of great sculptors, such as Auguste Rodin.

Musicians (People Fortress), Brando Ružić, 1971, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

Miracle in Milan (1968) by Branko RužićMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

In his 37th year, having dealt with painting for some years, Ružić started making sculptures. He did them in various materials (in wood, bronze, marble, terracotta, clay and stone), his expression being affected the medieval sculptural inheritance.

He is characterised by simplicity and monumentality, as well as by the metaphorical charge in his expression. His sculptural oeuvre essentially enriched Croatian visual production in the second half of the 20th century.

The Childhood Bell, Šime Vulas, 1963, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more
Woman on a Cube, Kosta Angeli Radovani, 1969, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

In the early sixties there was a breakthrough of geometry into Radovani’s sculpture, and after 1966 he started a cycle of nude figures constructed of conical, spherical and cylindrical elements, and replaced the organic and plastic principle with the principle of construction.

Torso, Kosta Angeli Radovani, 1968, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more
Kneeling Woman, Kosta Angeli Radovani, 1967, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

Women from Senj by Vanja Radauš and 1970Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Vanja Radauš eft a powerful mark on sculpture, in a range of genres and techniques including medals, small-scale sculptures in terracotta, plaster and stone, wax and bronze, as well as monumental sculptures.

In his series of sculptures, he opened up vistas previously unknown and is with good justice considered one of the most significant figures in Croatian sculpture of the 20th century.

Fish (1970) by Vanja RadaušMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Broken Milestones (1972) by Edo MurticMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Edo Murtić is one of the first Croatian painters in whom the use of paint in the picture is almost freed of any connotation with an object and takes on the primary function in the painting.

Two Red Dots, Edo Murtic, 1959, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

Edo Murtić is one of the main representatives of Lyrical Abstraction.

Gromače (Dry-stone walls), Oton Gliha, 1962, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

Some Croatian painters systematically worked on the border of the figurative and the abstract; they picked out a formal motif that is turned into a sign and that creates the meditative or lyrical reality of the picture. Oton Gliha paints the motif of the dry stone wall, giving it his own interpretation and creating a unique contribution to Croatian landscape painting. In the vast agglomerations of stone on Krk island he creates a detached and abstractified structure of signs expressed through a sonorous combination of colours.

Composition YZ3 by Ivan PiceljMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

At work in Zagreb from 1950 to 1956 was a group of artists gathered together in the group Exat 51, in which, among others, the painters Ivan Picelj and Aleksandr Srnec and the architect Vjenceslav Richter, all of whom are represented in the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, worked in fruitful collaboration.
Picelj painted reductive planar and formal compositions that looked back and outwards to the historical models of the avant-garde El Lissitzky and Mondrian, precisely conceptualising thereby his own neo position.

Object 151077, Aleksandar Srnec, 1977, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

Srnec developed the concept of Geometrical Abstraction and began pioneering research into lumino-kinetics. These men also figured in the New Tendencies of 1961 to 1973, the international art movement that included Kinetic Art and neo-Constructivism, neo-Dado and New Realism the beginnings of which coincided with the crisis in and supersession of Informel.

Composition 15 (1954) by Josip VaništaMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

From 1959 to 1966 Zagreb saw the workings of Gorgona, an informal art group in which, among others, Marijan Jevšovar, Julije Knifer, Josip Vaništa and sculptor Ivan Kožarić were involved.

Gorgona is characterised by the doubt it casts upon the object as final product, a sense of the absurd, black humour, nihilism.

Dostoyevsky, Josip Vaništa, 1954, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

Josip Vaništa

His motifs and expression mark a new sensitivity in Croatian art. He publishes illustrations in the daily and periodical press, is into book design and set design and has won many prizes for art, as well as authoring several books of essays.

Since 1994 he has been a member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts and is one of Croatia’s most prominent artists.

Composition II (Triptych), Julije Knifer, 1976, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

What characterises the works of painting of Gorgona is the intention to create anti-paintings, as shown by the example of Julije Knifer, whose entire oeuvre is related a single motif, the meander, which first appeared in his works in 1959/1960. A form of entirely reduced visual expression is reduced to the relation of black and white, and sums up in itself a strict and precise idea, which is privileged over the actual produced form.

MX3 (1970) by Julije KniferMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Julije Knifer

Spent a lifetime paring painting down to its essence. He claimed to pursue the “escalation of uniformity and monotony” in his paintings, drawings, and outdoor murals, focusing on one endlessly variable geometric form, which he called “the meander.”

A maze-like shape of horizontal and vertical switchbacks, almost always rendered in black and white, this motif was the vehicle through which he explored time and rhythm, and revealed the inevitable differences in any act of repetition.

My World (2004) by Željko JermanMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

The New Artistic Practice of 1966 to 1978 shows a change, an establishment of a different and, for the tradition of Modernism, atypical form of action, expression and representation in the world of the fine arts. These are works that are not founded on a completed visual work, rather on the idea of artistic practice.

Triptyhos posthistoricus (Gecan is going to Heaven) (2004) by Braco DimitrijevićMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

These are works of processual art, including analytical painting, Arte Povera , Body Art and performance, urban interventions and environmental art and conceptual art, represented in the MoMA Dubrovnik by the works of Braco Dimitrijevic, Goran Trbuljak and Željko Jerman.

Untitled, Goran Trbuljak, 2005, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

Crises Emotio (2001) by Željko JermanMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Untitled (2003) by Duje JurićMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

The eighties were years that in Croatia as on the world scene were marked by the concept of the New Image, which is represented in the MoMA Dubrovnik by the works of Igor Rončević, filled with fluid, organic forms and sensitive chromatic harmonies, and by the New Sculpture, Anachronism and New Geometry represented here by the works of Duje Jurić.

Untitled (Diptych) (1999) by Duje JuricMuseum of Modern Art Dubrovnik

Untitled, Igor Rončević, 2002, From the collection of: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
Show lessRead more

The Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik was founded in 1945, when it was housed in the Cerva-Pozza Palace in the Pile area. But the building in which this museum institution of modern and contemporary art has been located since 1948 was originally conceived and constructed as the prestigious family mansion of Dubrovnik ship owner Božo Banac.

It was designed by leading Croatian architects Lavoslav Horvat and Harold Bilinić so as to be close in terms of plan and style to the Gothic and Renaissance specimens of Dubrovnik town and country architecture, for example, the Rector’s Palace, the Divona Palace, the Sorgo Villa.

Today the Banac mansion is a listed property. In the terms of a 2005 contract with its founder and owner, the City of Dubrovnik, the Museum of Modern Art was allowed the use of additional and associated premises, the Dulčić, Masle and Pulitika Gallery at Držićeva poljana 1 in Dubrovnik and in 2008 it acquired the use of the Pulitika Studio (Atelier) in Dubrovnik’s Fort St John.

As a cultural institution founded with the intention that it should collect, study and exhibit artistic material of modern and contemporary art, the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik has to date managed to assemble, through gifts and purchases, a valuable collection of 3,000 artworks.

In the collection of modern art, which covers the visual production created in the period from the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century to the end of World War II, most represented are artists related in some way to the Dubrovnik region, above all those whose oeuvre has far outstripped regional and indeed national relevance.

In the collection of contemporary art, covering visual art produced since World War II, along with sculpture, painting and prints, there are also collections of photographs, video works and artistic installations.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
What is Contemporary Art?
Challenging the notion of art itself – explore the art of our recent past, present and future
View theme
Google apps