Sunday, 2 January 2022

Unknown Klimt: Works of Legendary Artist on Display in Rijeka After 136 Years

Early in his career, Gustav Klimt was commissioned to create three ceiling paintings for the new theatre building in Rijeka. It took 136 years for the public to finally get to see them up close. The exhibition Unknown Klimt: Love, death, ecstasy at the Rijeka City Museum provides a rare chance to discover the early works of the legendary artist 


Gustav Klimt is undoubtedly one of the most famous artists of all time. Did you know that three of his works have been created specifically to be displayed in Rijeka, Croatia? Not in a museum (not until recently, at least), but mounted on the ceiling of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc, along with six other works painted by Klimt’s brother Ernst and another Viennese artist, Franz Matsch. 

The theatre building in Rijeka was designed by the renowned Viennese architectural studio Helmer and Fellner, specialised for theatres and concert halls. Dozens of cultural landmarks were built after their plans across central Europe in the second half of the 19th century, including the Croatian National Theatre buildings in Zagreb and Varaždin. Out of their three theatre projects in Croatia, the one in Rijeka has the best preserved original form; it was also the first building in Rijeka to get electrical lighting and was equipped with the first telephone in town. 


The Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka / Image by Antonio199Cro, Wiki Commons

In 1885, the architects commissioned artworks for the interior from three young Viennese artists who worked together under the name of Art Society (Die Künstler-Compagnie): brothers Gustav and Ernst Klimt, and Franz Matsch. They were all just getting their careers off the ground; Gustav, who would later become the biggest name of the three, was only 23 years old at the time. 

The artists were to produce nine large format paintings depicting mythical and historical scenes, widely popular at the time and also thematically suitable for theatre decor. The completed commissioned works were shipped to Rijeka and installed on the ceiling of the auditorium in the new theatre.

All three artists went their separate ways in years following the Rijeka commission. Ernst Klimt died young, in 1892, and was thus deprived of the chance to achieve notable artistic renown. His death also marked the end of the Art Society, as the other two artists decided to part ways and explore different artistic avenues. 

Gustav Klimt embraced the groundbreaking Art Nouveau style and eventually became the icon of the revolutionary movement, while Matsch chose the familiarity of the traditional academic milieu, going on to work as a portraitist in the aristocratic circles. 

The nine large canvases painted for the theatre in Rijeka provide valuable insight into the early stages of the artists’ careers, especially Gustav Klimt who would in time develop a particularly distinctive style not at all reminiscent of the classical theatrical decor. 


A once in a lifetime opportunity

In March and April 1885, right after the three artists completed the commission, the paintings were displayed in the Museum of Art and Industry in Vienna before they were shipped to Rijeka.

In 136 years since the works were painted, this was the single time they were displayed at ground level, in a museum environment where they could be admired by the public.

As soon as they arrived in Rijeka, they were mounted on the ceiling of the auditorium in the new theatre and remained at a height of some 20 metres above ground for over a century. While technically visible from the auditorium, one would have to strain their neck significantly trying to make out the main motifs of the paintings; they fit superbly into the grandeur of the ornate  theatrical decor, but it’s not the optimal way to appreciate the likes of Klimt. 

The paintings were restored once before as part of a larger scale renovation of the theatre building in 1978, but were not displayed publicly at the time. 

And then came 2020 and a grand exhibition at the Sugar Palace of the Rijeka City Museum. Unknown Klimt: Love, death, ecstasy literally provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the precious works up close and admire the intricate details. 


Ernst Klimt, Genius With a Trumpet

In the preparatory stages of the exhibition planning, the nine paintings were dismantled from the theatre ceiling in 2018 and have undergone a thorough restoration. Works by Gustav Klimt and Matsch were restored by Ana Rušin Bulić and Goran Bulić at the Rijeka department of the Croatian Restoration Institute, while those created by Ernst Klimt were shipped to the Easel Painting Department of the Croatian Restoration Institute in Zagreb where Slobodan Radić performed restorative works. 

Once the exhibition closes and the canvases are installed back on the theatre ceiling where they belong, we’re unlikely to get another chance to admire them up close in our lifetime. Unknown Klimt was originally supposed to close in late 2021, but due to popular demand the exhibition was extended and will remain open until March 31st, 2022. 

If the road takes you to Rijeka - the upcoming carnival in February could be a nice motivator to visit - we urge you to stop by the Sugar Refinery Palace and avail of this rare opportunity to see the early works of the world famous master and his fellow artists.

Make sure to also check out the superb permanent exhibit at the Rijeka City Museum at the same location; it’s a must-see spot in Rijeka and is included in the ticket for the Klimt exhibition. 


The following nine works made for the Rijeka theatre are displayed at the exhibition Unknown Klimt: 


Gustav Klimt:

St. Cecilia

Anthony and Cleopatra

Orpheus and Eurydice


Ernst Klimt: 

Allegory of Theatrical Art

Genius with a trumpet

Genius with a basket of flowers


Franz Matsch: 

Allegory of Love Poetry

Allegory of Dance

Allegory of Comic Opera

Learn more about the exhibition at the Rijeka City Museum website

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Picasso and Miro Exhibition to Be Held in Opatija This Summer

ZAGREB, 9 May 2021 - The original works of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro will be exhibited this summer in the Juraj Šporer Art Pavillion in Opatija, a press conference heard last Wednesday.

The exhibition opens on 2 June and will last until 10 October 2021, the director of the Opatija Festival, Ernie Gigante Dešković, said. A part of the exhibition is dedicated to Picasso and the other to Miro, under the common title "Friendship, Freedom", said Gigante Drašković.

"A few years ago we brought back the performances of great international music stars to the Summer Stage. Thus the Summer Stage again became one of Croatia's most important music locations. Now we have decided to do the same with the Juraj Šporer Art Pavillion", he said.

Those behind the Opatija Festival have decided to turn that exhibition area into one of the most important locations in Croatia, where it will be possible to see attractive international exhibitions.

In order to meet the high standards and conditions required by this exhibition, the gallery space is being remodeled and special security measures are being introduced.

As a co-organizer of the exhibition, the director of IPL Art, Iva Piglić Lazić, said that the preparation had been underway for seven months now. The works that will be on display are part of private collections and could not be seen in Croatia by now, she said.

Of the 140 works available, we will exhibit most of them, Piglić Lazić said. She especially thanked the Opatija Tourist Board and the City of Opatija, who had recognized the project, for cooperation, as well as other associates and sponsors.

For more travel information about Opatija, be sure to visit Total Croatia's guide HERE.

For more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Touch of Baranja Photo Exhibition in Zagreb Until End of April

April 21, 2021 - A Touch of Baranja showcases 20 photos of the Baranja region to promote this rich natural and cultural site to both domestic and foreign visitors.

If you want to experience a touch of Baranja, but you're stuck in Zagreb, the city's Flower square (Cvjetni trg) offers you a compromise.  

Dodir baRAnJe (A Touch of Baranja), an outdoor photo exhibition that will remain open until the end of April, highlights 20 photos of beautiful Baranja.

''A picture says a thousand words, so this is how we decided to present the beauty of Baranja and motivate Zagreb's citizens and their guests to visit the region located between the Danube and Drava rivers next to the border with Hungary to have a proper break,'' says the website of the Baranja Tourist Board.

The Tourist Board, along with Tourist Boards of Draž and Bilje-Kopački Rit hosted the event.

Nenad Milić, Dubravko Franjin, Romulić&Stojčić Studio, Mario Đurkić, and Zvonimir Janković are the photographers whose work is being featured in the exhibition. Below every photo, there is a QR code that offers an explanation of the photo both in English and Croatian, and in the evening, the photos are illuminated by solar power collected during the day.

As written by the Explore Croatia site, Baranja is special for its display of multiculturalism of the people who live there and who have previously passed through the territory. Tradition and cultural heritage in the area have survived the challenges of time, and nowhere is that more visible than in Baranja's cuisine.


© Visit Baranja 

''Baranja continues to remain a special destination which will tell the traveller various stories about tradition, family, life secrets, love, death, wines, hot peppers, specific fishing, weddings…“, explains the Explore Croatia site.

Baranja also offers the richness of nature as it is surrounded by rivers and the Kopački Rit swamp and bird reserve that is home to a wide and impressive variety of animals and plants, representing a real treat for the dedicated traveller.

When in Baranja, make sure to try the delicious Fiš Paprikaš, Baranja's own local Kulen recipe, and carp prepared in a delicious way only Baranja knows how to do.

Learn more about Croatia's food on our TC page

For more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

VukovART 2021 to Return Art, Culture and Joy to the City of Vukovar

April 20, 2021 - With a five-year tradition already in place, VukovART 2021 promises a month of fun and exciting activities for Vukovar with visual eye candy as souvenirs to last.

A unique concept in the culture and art of Vukovar, the VukovART festival will be held from May 15 all the way to June 15, writes HRTurizam.  

With a five-year tradition, the streets and squares of Vukovar will once again host numerous exhibitions and workshops, debates, children's programs, film, and literary programs, panel discussions, colorful lectures, and concerts. This event, organized by the City of Vukovar and Val Kulture association, co-financed by the European Social fund, promotes Vukovar as a Port of Art, changing the visual identity of the city making it a beautiful place to live. In addition to the local community, tourists also enjoy the eye candy of the city's open-air gallery. Artists Boa Mistura (Spain), BustArt (Switzerland), Jana Brike (Latvia), Mr Woodland (Germany), Victor Splash (Russia), Artez (Serbia), Juandres Vera (Mexico), Kerim Musanović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Marion Ruthardt from (Germany), and Croatia's own Forest are ten artists who will come this year to give their contribution to the growing visual content of the city.

The festival will be opened by a beloved Croatian band Vatra (Fire), with performances of Mia Dimšić, musical composition CLUE, and vocal composition Watercolor in the following days too. During every larger event of the festival, „a superb craft scene and street food“ offers will be offered to visitors too. 


© VukovArt - Art Harbour

Famous Croatian singer from Psihomodo Pop with a neck in painting as well, Davor Gobac will exhibit his paintings and also host Motivational and Art Workshop for children.

„There will also be an active weekend led by the Vukovar Half Marathon, and for a slightly more relaxing activity, a bicycle race will be organized to tour previous works of art“, says HRTurizam article.

Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish, Dusan Bučan, and Robert Knjaz will host travel lectures and the full program and more details can be found on VukovART official website and on social networks.  

Learn more about Croatia's festivals on our TC page.  

For more about Made in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Sunday, 13 December 2020

Zagreb Lauba's Revolutionary Redesign by World-Famous Japanese Architect

ZAGREB December 13, 2020 – .One of Croatia's best-loved gallery and event spaces will undergo a revolutionary new facelift at the hands of a world-famous architect. Zagreb Lauba's new look comes at the hands of internationally acclaimed Sou Fujimoto. A serial award winner, the architect's prominent works are found all over the world.

Newly-released images of how Zagreb's Lauba will look show an incredibly imaginative redesign. Echoing the avenue of trees that runs by the side of the gallery and event space, Sou Fujimoto has planned an oval-shaped garden roof space for the building in which trees will also be planted. The inspiration for the design came from Zagreb Lauba's name – it is a colloquial word used to describe a certain circular area of trees, the architect being informed of this by gallery owner Tomislav Klitschko.

laubynew22.jpg© Sou Fujimoto Architects / Lauba

According to Jutarnji List's coverage of the redesign, by journalist Patricia Kish, the new roof garden space will be accessed by stairs and lift. Zagreb Lauba's design as it stands today was originally made by Alenka Gačić-Pojatina, who will collaborate on the new additions by Sou Fujimoto.

Zagreb Lauba's story dates back to 1910 when it was constructed by Emil Eisner and Adolf Ehrlich for use as a stables and riding school for the Austro-Hungarian army. It later became the weaving mill of the Textile Combine Zagreb, which it remained until being converted to a gallery and event space in 2008.

laubynew3.jpg© Sou Fujimoto Architects / Lauba

Sou Fujimoto is one of the most celebrated architects of Japan. He has won several prestigious awards for his work and the acclaim has made his designs much in-demand around the world. Often working with wood and natural materials, his designs can be found in London, Paris, Budapest and soon, at Zagreb Lauba's hands, in Croatia.

Lauba is a contemporary art gallery and its mission is to discover artistic expression by Croatian visual artists, and also participate in international cultural trends. Set in a huge black building near Črnomerec its exhibitions usually change around every month. In recent times it has also played host to large-scale electronic music events.

1620px-Final_Wooden_House_2008.jpgOne of Sou Fujimoto's previous designs © Kenta Mabuchi

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Meet Kristina Marić, a Multimedia Artist from Đakovo

Kristina Marić is a multimedia artist that was born in Đakovo in 1990. She graduated from the Art Academy in Osijek in the Department of Fine Arts and Multimedia in 2015. In 2013, Marić had a residence at the Art Quarter Budapest. She is the recipient of the Red Carpet Art Award for young artists in 2017. In 2018, she was a finalist for the Radoslav Putar Award from the Institute for Contemporary Art in Zagreb. Marić is a member of the Croatian Society of Fine Artists Osijek and is actively exhibiting at exhibitions and festivals in Croatia and abroad. Since 2016, she has worked as an assistant at the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek.