The Guards’ Palace of Várkert Bazár in Budapest saw the opening of the Miroslav Kraljević, a Croatian Modernist, and Uzelac, Gecan and Trepše, Three of the Most Prominent Followers of Kraljević’s Legacy in Croatian Painting of the First Half of the 20th Century exhibition
In one of the most beautiful exhibition spaces on the shores of the Danube in Budapest, the Miroslav Kraljević, a Croatian Modernist, and Uzelac, Gecan and Trepše, Three of the Most Prominent Followers of Kraljević’s Legacy in Croatian Painting of the First Half of the 20th Century exhibition was opened before a large audience on 3rd March. In two large halls of the first floor of the Guards’ Palace of Várkert Bazár, an impressive selection of paintings was presented to the international public, including 55 of the most significant works by Miroslav Kraljević and a number of anthological paintings by Milivoj Uzelac, Vilko Gecan and Marijan Trepše, mostly from the holdings of the Modern Gallery. The guests were addressed on behalf of the Ministry of Human Capacities of the Republic of Hungary by Secretary of State, Mr Péter Fekete, and on behalf of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, by Secretary of State, Mr Ivica Poljičak. In his address, Secretary of State Ivica Poljičak highlighted that this valuable exhibition is another unique opportunity, in a series of encounters, to deepen the dialogue, and to exchange experiences and ideas. The cultural relations between Croatia and Hungary, two countries that have enjoyed friendly relations, are an example of excellent and meaningful collaboration in the field of culture and art.
Zvonko Maković, art historian and art critic, and author of the exhibition, spoke about Miroslav Kraljević’s art and significance: Kraljević’s impressionism is in the vein of Manet and Cézanne. However, when viewed from a thematic perspective, Kraljević’s work displays clearly discernible references to a complex that was best defined by Manet, Degas and Caillebotte, painters of modern, urban life, but also painters with a keen social awareness. This social aspect had its strongholds in the literatures of Realism and Naturalism. Belonging to the high bourgeoisie and exploiting themes from the everyday life of this social class were introduced as themes into Croatian painting precisely by Miroslav Kraljević. Dandyism and flâneurs were born in the circle to which they belonged. And these were, besides Baudelaire, Édouard Manet and Gustave Caillebotte. Miroslav Kraljević followed in the similar vein, which is what makes him unique in Croatian art. No one had entered all social spheres with such simplicity and ease prior to Kraljević, feeling equally natural in all of them. From theatres, fancy salons to coffee houses and brothels. While painting the squares and rooftops of his Požega, a bridge across the Seine, the Pantheon or scenes from a Russian ballet at the Théâtre du Châtelet, or those from coffee houses and brothels, he observes and accepts all with the same feeling. The guests were also greeted by Mr Darko Puljašić, Mayor of Požega.
The most valuable segment of Croatian modernism presented at this exhibition is part of a cultural programme that was specially designed to accompany Croatia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
On view in Budapest until 29th March, the exhibition was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of Human Capacities of the Republic of Hungary, the City of Požega, and the Zagreb and Požega Tourist Boards, and is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue in English and Hungarian published by our Hungarian partners with texts written by Zvonko Maković and Biserka Rauter Plančić. The exhibition catalogue’s graphic design is authored by the Hungarian designer, Mr István Bába.