[EXHIBITION] Juraj Plančić — Parisian Artworks

Juraj Plančić: Parisian ArtworksDear friends, visitors, and associates of Stari Grad Museum,

it is our great pleasure to invite you to the opening of the exhibition Juraj Plančić — Parisian Artworks, which will be held on Saturday, 30 July, 2022 at 9 pm at the Stari Grad Museum.

More than a quarter of a century separates us from the last retrospective exhibition dedicated to the work of Juraj Plančić (Stari Grad, 22 October, 1899 – Paris, 19 August, 1930), held in the Klovićevi dvori Gallery in Zagreb. The exhibition presented almost the entire collection of the painter’s work executed in Croatia up until 1926 (a total of 128 works), together with a respectable number of “Parisian paintings” that were accessible at that time, i.e. paintings created during the last three years of his work and life in Paris, from the late autumn of 1927 to the early spring of 1930. From the aforementioned retrospective – and its reruns with fewer exhibits in Split and in Stari Grad (1996), the “gaps” from the painter’s Parisian oeuvre to this day have been largely filled because curators and private collectors diligently searched for Plančić’s paintings across Europe. Their effort paid off, because in the last ten years, in France, Germany and Switzerland, seven more of Plančić’s magical oils were found, bought and, more importantly, delivered to Croatia and it is these that the Stari Grad public has not yet had the chance to view. In addition, the younger generations of art lovers, artists, critics and admirers of Plančić’s painting should be shown in vivo the superb range of artistry that Plančić achieved in the aegis of the mythical Parisian environment of the late 20s of the last century. We have outlined the reasons for organizing this exhibition that, we have no doubt, will not only interest curators and critics, but also delight an audience eager to meet “fine art”. Plančić’s paintings, with their lux parisiorum enlightened palette, will be housed for two months this summer in his native Stari Grad, to augment the joyous anticipation of the August festivities and especially the festival of the town’s patron saint. The paintings are a delight and an artistic experience that simply cannot be missed.

At the exhibition in the Stari Grad Museum, a museum established for the rich archaeological heritage of ancient Pharos, as well as for Stari Grad’s valuable modern heritage (from Juraj Plančić to Bartol Petrić, Jakov Bratanić, Magda Dulčić, etc.), seven newly acquired oil paintings by Plančić are on display in a small but illustrative art exhibition, as well as a number of painter’s masterpieces which for decades have been kept as the greatest treasures and displayed in permanent exhibitions by the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb, the Museum of Fine Arts in Split and the Branislav Dešković Gallery in Bol on the island Brač and, of course, the Stari Grad Museum. All of these compositions in which we meet fishermen embarking on a fishing trip or returning to their ports; pastoral and bucolic scenes; real and unreal vedute in an Arcadian setting, are executed with Plančić’s characteristic colouristic refinement of “natural” impressionism with reminiscences of landscapes, scenes and festivals from the painters’ homeland. In short, the exhibition consists of 30 first-class examples of the artist’s so called, “golden painting”.

Juraj Plančić graduated in 1925 from the Painting department of the Royal Higher School of Arts and Crafts in the class of Vladimir Becić. His first solo exhibition was held in his native Stari Grad in 1923. During his studies and before going to Paris, he exhibited in Split and in Zagreb. Initially, Plančić’s painting took place within the framework of the national romanticism of the members of the Association of Croatian Artists “Medulić” and their architectonic paintings, and then also within the circle of magical expressions of the “new realism” which dominated Croatian painting in the 1920s.

Thanks to a scholarship from the French government, he arrived in Paris in the late autumn of 1926. While living at the foot of Montmartre, he creates drawings and watercolours of the mythical hill, and in museums he studies and admires the works of A. Watteau and J. H. Fragonard. In the small art galleries in the Rue de Seine, he discovers and admires the paintings of H. Matisse. As his scholarship ended, he was faced with financial difficulties and forced to move to Rosny-sous-Bois. Here, in rural area close to the capital and in abject poverty, Plančić’s “golden painting” began. His first success and critical attention came at the Autumn Salon in 1928, and the first purchases of paintings in 1929 at the Salon des Indépendants. Encouraged by purchases and achieved success, he returns to Paris, rents an apartment near the Luxembourg Garden and continues to exhibit at the Salons at the Grand Palais. A solo exhibition in 1929 at the Galerie de Seine crowned his efforts and opened the doors of the Paris international scene. The path to full affirmation and even financial success was stopped by tuberculosis, from which he suffered and finally died in a Paris hospital on 19 August, 1930.

Curated by Biserka Rauter Plančić, the exhibition will be open until 2 October, 2022.

The exhibition is realised in collaboration with the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb, the Branislav Dešković Gallery in Bol on the island Brač, the Museum of Fine Arts in Split, collectors and owners of private collections and with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, Split-Dalmatia County, and Stari Grad Municipality. The general sponsor of the exhibition is Maslina Resort.

We invite you all to the Museum and look forward to your visit!