THE INTERNATIONAL PRINTMAKING EXHIBITION OF 1914 IN ZAGREB
 

An important printmaking event

From February 1, 1914 to March 1, 1914 an international print exhibition was held at which 160 artists took part, showing 870 works. It was a selling exhibition, and as was said in the writing of the daily Jutarnji list, the intimate feeling of the prints and the reasonable price made the works desirable and accessible to a large number of art lovers. The greatest praise accrued to English and French artists, unlike the Germans, who did not leave a particularly favourable impression. While the show was on Isidor Kršnjavi held a lecture on the significance of reproductive art, in which he pointed out its role in popularisation, as well as the possibility for independent expression that it had, as shown by the examples of Biblia Pauperum and Rembrandt's work in prints. At this lecture, Kršnjavi shows some of the techniques of printmaking, creating something like a small printmaking workshop, endeavouring to contribute to a better understanding of the medium of the print. The fine arts criticism published in Obzor and Savremenik particularly highlighted the English, particularly Frank Brangwyn, whom Lunaček in Savremenik compared with Rembrandt and Rubens because of his presentation of light and shade, and the contrasts of them in a manner similar to that of the Dutch masters. As opposite to Brangwyn, Lunaček mentioned the American Joseph Pannel, who showed a large number of lithographs and etchings in which the liveliness and light of New York were particularly to the fore. As against the enthusiasm for the English, the Germans did not please, and the exhibition actually diminished the current reputation of German painters. The writer of the review in Obzor said that they were stiff and dry, unlike the English, whose etchings were intimate. Ferdinand Schmutzer was put forward as an exception, but he was unfortunately represented by too few works.

 

  


An interesting fact of the exhibition is that it contained artists who went unnoticed who later went on to have a major effect on the art of the 20th century - Kandinsky, Nolde, Kollwitz and Marc. They were shown with a small number of works. The French were given a good deal of attention, irrespective of the few exhibitors there were. Their skill in drawing was particularly highlighted, and Theophile Alexandre Stein Len  was particularly referred to. Toulouse-Lautrec, representative of the modern school of French painting, showed only three lithographs, according to Lunaček, alas, too few. The Czechs were represented by Šimon who in his manner of work followed the French school, founded on brilliant draughts manly features, but was not represented adequately.
Croatian artists were not represented in a very large number, just fourteen of them with 64 works, of which there were a small number of prints, most of the works being drawings, pastels and water colours. Among them, the following stand out: Ljubo Babić, Menci Cl. Crnčić, Vjera Bojničić, Oton Iveković, Dušan Kokotović, Miroslav Kraljević and Gabrijel Jurkić.

 

 


 
    
Illustrated catalogue of The International Printmaking Exhibition of The Croatian Art Society, Zagreb, February 1914.
On the front page a woodcut by M. Podhajska, Prague

 


Šimon, František: "St-Denis", 1911, etching, 227x172 mm.

Brangwyn, Frank: "St. Peter's Church in Genova", 1913, etching 563x648 mm.