March 2013 – Works by Antun Motika in the Royal Compound

Interior with red tablecloth

Watercolour and tempera
Dimensions: 42 x 59 cm
Inventory number: 30/01
50’s, XX century
The painting is signed upper right
The Royal Palace

Bouquet in blue jug
Gouache and oil on cardboard
Dimensions: 99.5 x 72 cm
202/01
around 1946
The painting is signed upper right
The White Palace
The art collection of the Royal Compound contains two works attributed to one of the most important Croatian painter and teacher Antun Motika. Both works date from Yugoslav post-war painting. They entered the collection after 1953, at the request of the Office of the President of the Republic.

Versatile artist Antun Motika was known to the public primarily as a painter of lyrical landscapes and interiors with a strong sensibility to colour and light, although he was actually one of the most prominent artists who experimented with techniques. It is precisely in his works from the Royal Compound collection that the lyrical lines of his art are highly notable, as well as a tendency toward the decorative and surveying the area. Bouquet in blue jug is the work that permeates with explosion of colours, from yellow through red and turquoise blue to dark shades of ochre. In contrast, the Interior with red tablecloth retains colour intensity, but sometimes only in the lines of shapes and forms. According to its characteristics, this work indicates that at the time it was made, the artist had already been in his artistic research.

Antun Motika (Pula 1902 – Zagreb 1992)

He graduated from the Royal Academy in Zagreb in 1926. At first he studied sculpture in the class of Prof. Rudolf Valdec, then painting under Prof. Ljubo Babic and Maximilian Vanka. Twice during this period he stayed in Paris, where he met with Bonnard’s intimism and Dufy’s colourism. In the period from 1940 to 1961 Motika worked for the School of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb. He exhibited in Zagreb, Ljubljana, Rijeka, and participated in numerous exhibitions in Yugoslavia and abroad: Moscow, Leningrad, Warsaw, Milan, Rome, Venetian Biennale and so on.

Poetic lyricism was represented in Motika’s painting from the very beginning. Landscapes, cityscapes, still lives in gouache, watercolour and tempera were painted in bright tonalities. At a later stage, he switched to different modes of expression. From 1952 he began his “archaic surrealism” phase as he put it, in which there was a compression of motives and the emergence of stronger forms in his works. Motif of vases is often present in his work.