Zoran Mušič

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Zoran Mušič
Zoran Music.jpg
Zoran Mušič in the 1960s
Born(1909-02-12)12 February 1909 [1]
Died25 May 2005(2005-05-25) (aged 96) [1]
Education Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb
Known for painting, drawing, printmaking [2]
Notable work
Konjički (Little Horses), Nismo poslednji (We are not the last), Cathedrals, Self-portraits
Movement Neodvisni, Ecole de Paris
Spouse(s)Ida Cadorin Ida Barbarigo  [ fr ]
AwardsGrand Prize Venice Biennale (1956)
Prešeren Award (1991) [3]
Self-portrait (1997) Zoran Music self-portrait 1997.jpg
Self-portrait (1997)

Zoran Mušič (12 February 1909 – 25 May 2005), baptised as Anton Zoran Mušič, was a Slovene painter, printmaker, and draughtsman from the Karst Plateau near the Adriatic Sea. He was the only painter of Slovene descent who managed to establish himself in the elite cultural circles of Italy and France, particularly Paris, where he lived for most of his later life. He painted landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and self-portraits, as well as scenes of horror from the Dachau concentration camp and vedute of Venice.

Slovenes South Slavic ethnic group living in historical Slovene lands

The Slovenes, also known as Slovenians, are a nation and South Slavic ethnic group native to Slovenia, and also to Italy, Austria and Hungary in addition to having a diaspora throughout the world. Slovenes share a common ancestry, culture, history and speak Slovene as their native language.

Painting practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used. The final work is also called a painting.

Printmaking process through which an artistic print is created

Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each print produced is not considered a "copy" but rather is considered an "original". This is because typically each print varies to an extent due to variables intrinsic to the printmaking process, and also because the imagery of a print is typically not simply a reproduction of another work but rather is often a unique image designed from the start to be expressed in a particular printmaking technique. A print may be known as an impression. Printmaking is not chosen only for its ability to produce multiple impressions, but rather for the unique qualities that each of the printmaking processes lends itself to.



Zoran Mušič was born in a Slovene-speaking family in Bukovica, a village in the Vipava Valley near Gorizia, in what was then the Austrian County of Gorizia and Gradisca (now in Slovenia). Mušič's father Anton was the headmaster of the local school, and his mother Marija (née Blažič) was a teacher there. Both parents were Slovenes from the Goriška region: his father was from the village of Šmartno in the Gorizia Hills, and his mother was born in the hamlet of Kostanjevica in the village of Lig. [4]

Slovene language language spoken in Slovenia

Slovene or Slovenian belongs to the group of South Slavic languages. It is spoken by approximately 2.5 million speakers worldwide, the majority of whom live in Slovenia. It is the first language of about 2.1 million Slovenian people and is one of the 24 official and working languages of the European Union.

Vipava Valley valley in Slovenia

The Vipava Valley is a valley in the Slovenian Littoral, roughly between the village of Podnanos to the east and the border with Italy to the west. The main towns are Ajdovščina and Vipava.

Gorizia Comune in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

Gorizia is a town and comune in northeastern Italy, in the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is located at the foot of the Julian Alps, bordering Slovenia. It is the capital of the Province of Gorizia and a local center of tourism, industry, and commerce. Since 1947, a twin town of Nova Gorica has developed on the other side of the modern-day Italian–Slovenian border. The entire region was subject to territorial dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia after World War II: after the new boundaries were established in 1947 and the old town was left to Italy, Nova Gorica was built on the Yugoslav side. Taken together, the two towns constitute a conurbation, which also includes the Slovenian municipality of Šempeter-Vrtojba. Since May 2011, these three towns have been joined in a common trans-border metropolitan zone, administered by a joint administration board.

Mušič's father was mobilized and served on various battlefields during the First World War. In 1915, during the Battles of the Isonzo, the family (his mother with two children) was forced to flee to Arnače, a village near Velenje in the Duchy of Styria, where Zoran attended elementary school. In the spring of 1918, toward the end of World War I, the family moved back to Gorizia, but they were expelled again in late August 1919 by the Italian authorities, which had occupied the region. They moved to Griffen in Carinthia, but were expelled once again by the Austrian authorities after the Carinthian Plebiscite in late October 1920. They finally settled in Lower Styria, then part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. [4]

Battles of the Isonzo

The Battles of the Isonzo were a series of 12 battles between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies in World War I mostly on the territory of present-day Slovenia, and the remainder in Italy along the Isonzo River on the eastern sector of the Italian Front between June 1915 and November 1917.

Arnače Place in Styria, Slovenia

Arnače is a village in the Municipality of Velenje in northern Slovenia. It lies in the Ložnica Hills south of the town of Velenje. The area was traditionally part of Styria. The entire municipality is now included in the Savinja Statistical Region.

Velenje City in Styria, Slovenia

Velenje is Slovenia's fifth-largest city, and the seat of the Municipality of Velenje. The city is located in northeastern Slovenia, among the rolling green hills of the Šalek Valley, with the Kamnik–Savinja Alps to the west and the Pohorje Mountains to the east.

Mušič attended two high schools in Maribor till 1928. After, he visited Vienna for a short time. Between 1930 and 1935 he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. Mušič spoke Slovene, German, Croat, Italian, French and some Friulian. [5]

Maribor City in City Municipality of Maribor, Slovenia

Maribor is the second-largest city in Slovenia and the largest city of the traditional region of Lower Styria. It is also the seat of the City Municipality of Maribor.

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Zagreb Capital and largest city of Croatia

Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia. It is located in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately 122 m (400 ft) above sea level. The estimated population of the city in 2018 is 810,003. The population of the Zagreb urban agglomeration is about 1.2 million, approximately a quarter of the total population of Croatia.

After graduation in 1934, he travelled extensively. He spent three months (April to June 1935) in Spain, mainly Madrid. Later he served his obligatory army service in Bileća (1936). He spent each summer in Dalmatia while being based in Maribor and nearest village Hoče. In 1940, he moved to Ljubljana permanently. During this period (1942), he painted in two churches in his native Goriška region, together with his friend Avgust Černigoj (Drežnica, Grahovo) and one in village Gradno with another Slovenian painter Lojze Spacal. In October 1943, he moved to Trieste and later to Venice. He had his first one-man show (outside Yugoslavia) in Trieste and several months later in Venice. In early October 1944, he was arrested by the Nazi German forces because he was in a group of Slovene anti-fascists. The group had hidden transmitter and was connected with IS. His drawing and painting in Venice raised suspicions that he was a spy, and a month later he was sent to Dachau concentration camp, where he made more than 150 sketches of life in the camp, some under extremely difficult circumstances. From the drawings, mainly executed in May 1945, he managed to save around eighty (some more with his friends). After liberation by Americans in April 29, 1945, Mušič returned to Ljubljana in early June. There, he was sent to a hospital. A month later he was subjected to the pressures by the newly established Communist regime and moved to Gorizia at the end of July 1945. In the following months he travelled in the area of Trieste and Istria, spending some time in Pinguente (Buzet). In October 1945 he settled in Venice with the help of family Cadorin. In September 1949 he married younger painter Ida Cadorin - Barbarigo there. [4]

Madrid Capital of Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain and the largest municipality in both the Community of Madrid and Spain as a whole. The city has almost 3.3 million inhabitants and a metropolitan area population of approximately 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (EU), smaller than only London and Berlin, and its monocentric metropolitan area is the third-largest in the EU, smaller only than those of London and Paris. The municipality covers 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi).

Dalmatia Historical region of Croatia

Dalmatia is one of the four historical regions of Croatia, alongside Croatia proper, Slavonia, and Istria.

Ljubljana Capital city in City Municipality of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. It has been the cultural, educational, economic, political, and administrative centre of independent Slovenia since 1991.

In 1950 he won the Gualino prize and in 1956 the Grand Prize for his printmaking at the Venice Biennale. In 1951 he was awarded the Prix de Paris, (jointly with Antonio Corpora in 1951) for his colorful paintings of Dalmatia. After 1952 he lived mainly in Paris, where the 'lyrical abstraction' of the French Informel determined the art world. Throughout this period he kept his studio in Venice and exhibited again at the Biennale in 1960, when he was awarded the UNESCO Prize. The much acclaimed series We are not the Last, in which the artist transformed the terror of his experiences in the concentration camp into documents of universal tragedy, was made in the 1970s. [4] His last achievement were series of Selfportratis and Double portraits. His last paintings were dated in the year 2000.

Venice Biennale Bi-annual art exhibit

The Venice Biennale refers to an arts organization based in Venice and the name of the original and principal biennial exhibition the organization presents. The organization changed its name to the Biennale Foundation in 2009, while the exhibition is now called the Art Biennale to distinguish it from the organisation and other exhibitions the Foundation organizes.

Antonio Corpora Italian painter

Antonio Corpora (1909–2004) was a Tunisian born Italian painter who followed the Tachisme style of Abstract art.

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

In 1981 Mušič was appointed Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in Paris. Mušič's work has been honoured in numerous international exhibitions, such as the large retrospective exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1995, opened by the French and Slovenian presidents François Mitterrand and Milan Kučan. [4] At the same time Austrians promised him a permanent exhibition in Klagenfurt. It was never established. A huge part of his works was taken from his studio and never returned to the painter or his wife.

In 1991, Mušič was given the Prešeren Award for lifetime achievement, the highest decoration in the field of the arts in Slovenia. [3] Some of Mušič's works have been featured at Piran Coastal Galleries. [6] Gallery Zala from Ljubljana prepared 6 exhibitions (3 in Ljubljana, one in: Belgrade, Vienna and London). A big retrospective was prepared in Modern Gallery in Ljubljana November 2009. Academy of Sciences from Slovenia published a monograph, written by 20 authors from Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Italy and France (Vizije Zorana Mušiča) November 2012. First permanent exhibition of his prints was open in Dobrovo in 1991. Only permanent exhibition of his different works (paintings, prints, drawings) was open in National Gallery in Ljubljana in 2016. Bigger exhibition of selected works was prepared in Lugano, Collezione Braglia in October 2016. Another exhibition was in Venice at Fortuny Museum in spring 2018: A Tribute to Zoran Music, The Zurich Room. The Leopold Museum in Vienna opened a bigger retrospective exhibition in April 2018 with 167 selected works.

He died in Venice in 2005 at the age of 96. He is buried in the local St. Michele cemetery.

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  1. 1 2 3 Estorick, Michael (28 June 2005). "Zoran Music". The Independent. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  2. Clair, Jean. "Zoran Music". Grove Art Online. Tate.
  3. 1 2 "Prešernove nagrade" (PDF) (in Slovenian). Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia. p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-17. ZORAN MUŠIČ za življenjsko delo (slikar)
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 G. Zupan, Biography, Videnja Zorana Mušiča, Ljubljana, 2012.
  5. BBC Radio 4 - Great Lives, Series 36, Kulvinder Ghir on Zoran Music. Tuesday 21 April 2015, 16:30. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05r3w3s>.
  6. Obalne galerije Piran - Arhivi - ZORAN MUŠIČ | 1909 - 2005 | Slike, gvaši, risbe

Further reading