Difference between revisions of "Croatian Naive Art"

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Being the political dissident that he was, Hegedusic persuaded the young artists to paint scenes of political protest telling them that it was a responsibility to say something important against their repressive government. Initially, the farmer artists did follow Hegedusic’s suggestion, but it was not long before they began to break away from Hegedusic and paint subject matter they felt more interesting; scenes from the countryside and the farm life these artists knew only too well. It was also not long before Hegedusic’s “social protest” art was no longer a strong movement in what was then still Yugoslavia.
Being the political dissident that he was, Hegedusic persuaded the young artists to paint scenes of political protest telling them that it was a responsibility to say something important against their repressive government. Initially, the farmer artists did follow Hegedusic’s suggestion, but it was not long before they began to break away from Hegedusic and paint subject matter they felt more interesting; scenes from the countryside and the farm life these artists knew only too well. It was also not long before Hegedusic’s “social protest” art was no longer a strong movement in what was then still Yugoslavia.
Naturally, being farmers, these new artists painted in the evenings and on weekends when they were not out in the field tending to their chores. Also, because they finished their work in the Fall and didn’t have to plant until Spring they had all of this time through the winter to develop their painting skills. Once other farmers heard that some of their neighbors were doing this new form of art, painting on the back side of glass, they often traveled miles to visit an artist to see what was so interesting about this type of painting and to see how it was done. For some reason the area in what is now Croatia and is called Podravina became fertile ground for this new art form to flourish.
Naturally, being farmers, these new artists painted in the evenings and on weekends when they were not out in the field tending to their chores. Also, because they finished their work in the Fall and didn’t have to plant until Spring they had all of this time through the winter to develop their painting skills. Once other farmers heard that some of their neighbors were doing this new form of art, painting on the back side of glass, they often traveled miles to visit an artist to see what was so interesting about this type of painting and to see how it was done. For some reason the area in what is now Croatia and is called Podravina became fertile ground for this new art form to flourish.
Let me give you an idea of why this special art has never before been in America.
• '''Communist Suppression'''- originating in what was once Communist Yugoslavia, this form of Naïve Art began primarily as “social statement” art. The artists were saying things through their art that they could not and would not say in speech with regard to their government’s harsh dictatorial practices such as a confiscatory tax program.
• '''WWII'''- during WWII many of these “social statement” artists were forced underground in order to continue painting things as they saw them.
• '''War with Serbia 1991-1995'''- another terrible time in the lives of these wonderful people when no one had access to the country for almost any reason much less the purchasing of art.
• '''Monetary Problems'''- this form of art began in the late 1920’s in Yugoslavia and it would be extremely difficult to get enough American dollars over there to purchase art in the quantity necessary to maintain a gallery in the United States. You could not trust the Communist banking system for fear of having your funds confiscated. One would have a difficult time entering or leaving the country and would have had to travel with thousands of dollars in cash. That certainly would have proven extremely dangerous at the least.

Revision as of 19:26, 8 April 2007

Croatian Naïve Art

The entire movement of what is now called Croatian naïve art began some time between 1929 and 1930 when a political dissident artist named Krsto Hegedusic, while traveling through the Yugoslavian countryside, came upon two young farmers (late teens to early 20’s) painting on paper and doing quite a respectable job as he saw it. These two artist/farmers were Ivan Generalic and Franjo Mraz and Hegedusic immediately began to try to show them a new method of painting on the reverse side of glass. He explained that when done properly and viewed from the other side through the glass, that the colors were spectacular and the painting and technique unique. Being the political dissident that he was, Hegedusic persuaded the young artists to paint scenes of political protest telling them that it was a responsibility to say something important against their repressive government. Initially, the farmer artists did follow Hegedusic’s suggestion, but it was not long before they began to break away from Hegedusic and paint subject matter they felt more interesting; scenes from the countryside and the farm life these artists knew only too well. It was also not long before Hegedusic’s “social protest” art was no longer a strong movement in what was then still Yugoslavia. Naturally, being farmers, these new artists painted in the evenings and on weekends when they were not out in the field tending to their chores. Also, because they finished their work in the Fall and didn’t have to plant until Spring they had all of this time through the winter to develop their painting skills. Once other farmers heard that some of their neighbors were doing this new form of art, painting on the back side of glass, they often traveled miles to visit an artist to see what was so interesting about this type of painting and to see how it was done. For some reason the area in what is now Croatia and is called Podravina became fertile ground for this new art form to flourish.

Let me give you an idea of why this special art has never before been in America. • Communist Suppression- originating in what was once Communist Yugoslavia, this form of Naïve Art began primarily as “social statement” art. The artists were saying things through their art that they could not and would not say in speech with regard to their government’s harsh dictatorial practices such as a confiscatory tax program. • WWII- during WWII many of these “social statement” artists were forced underground in order to continue painting things as they saw them. • War with Serbia 1991-1995- another terrible time in the lives of these wonderful people when no one had access to the country for almost any reason much less the purchasing of art. • Monetary Problems- this form of art began in the late 1920’s in Yugoslavia and it would be extremely difficult to get enough American dollars over there to purchase art in the quantity necessary to maintain a gallery in the United States. You could not trust the Communist banking system for fear of having your funds confiscated. One would have a difficult time entering or leaving the country and would have had to travel with thousands of dollars in cash. That certainly would have proven extremely dangerous at the least.