The Imminent 120th Anniversary of the Art Pavilion
From the text of Academician Tonko Maroević written to mark the exhibition Art Time-Machine through 120 Years of the Art Pavilion.
At the end of 1898, thanks to the initiative of a group of Croatian painters and sculptors headed by Vlaho Bukovac and Robert Frangeš-Mihanović, the Croatian Salon exhibition declared open, and the work of the Art Pavilion in Zagreb started. In this manner our city acquired for the first time a space meant exclusively for the exhibition and popularisation of the fine arts, as well as a setting suitable for festive and solemn occasions and prestigious events. Since then it has seen a huge number of collective and solo events, survey, retrospective and monographic exhibitions, predominantly at the highest level in local terms, at the same time providing venues for top-quality artists from other milieus. We can conclude that the example of the Croatian Salon has been a heritage constituting a permanent obligation on the Art Pavilion, and that the institution that has taken on its name is aware of the need to maintain and carry on with criteria that are nothing less than anthological.
To mark the celebration of this important anniversary we plan to make a representative survey, as it were, of the work of the Art Pavilion, and in so doing also to present the supreme achievements of Croatian fine art. Through the one century and two decades, almost all the most prominent figures of domestic painting and sculpting have trooped though the venue. With but few exceptions, to exhibit solo in the Art Pavilion, either at one’s own initiative or the prompting of art historians, has become a measure of worth , a criterion of historical verification, a sign of almost definitive endorsement. Of course, appearances in groups and depictions of stylistic affiliations have also added to the renown of the institution, for through collective shows many first-rate artists have been presented, yet the series of individual contributions and inputs in the space of the Pavilion is particularly impressive, and significant indeed, appropriate to and fitting for the celebratory occasion.
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