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CROATIAN MODERN PAINTING 2007 - IVAN BENKOVIĆ (1886 – 1918)

     

Code: 308463 Available

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CROATIAN MODERN PAINTING 2007 - IVAN BENKOVIĆ (1886 – 1918)

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Number: 652
Value: 5.00 HRK
Design: Danijel Popović, designer from Zagreb
Size: 42.60 x 35.50
Paper: white 102 g, gummed
Perforation: Comb,14
Technique: Multicolored Offsetprint
Printed by: Zrinski d.d., Čakovec
Date of issue: 1/12/2007
Quantity: 100.000


He had rarely exhibited in his lifetime. Posthumous exhibitions remind us from time to time of Benković’s talent. These were the opportunities when the professional and general public could be introduced to Benković’s work that first and foremost earmarks him as an excellent drawer and talented graphic artist.


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Ivan Benković (1886 – 1918) The premature death of Ivan Benković (born in Rečica near Karlovac on April 12, 1886 and died in Chicago on October 23, 1918), his early departure for America (1912) and his commitment to drawing techniques represent the three main reasons for this talented illustrator, graphic artist and painter to have been forgotten and neglected for a long time. After the childhood spent in his native Rečica and his secondary education in Karlovac he started his study course at the High School for arts and crafts in Zagreb. His professors, Bela Csikos Sessja and Menci Klement Crnčić, determined his early formative period, particularly Crnčić who developed in many of his students an inclination for drawing and graphic expression. Having completed his studies with honours and acknowledgements, he received a scholarship for the continuation of his studies in Vienna owing to the recommendation given to him by Iso Kršnjavi. He went to Vienna and stayed there for three months in the year 1911. At the beginning of the year 1912 he was granted a scholarship for enhancement in Paris which he was craving for. In Paris he met and enjoyed the company Miroslav Kraljević, Mihovil Krušlin, Ivan Meštrović and others. Associating with Miroslav Kraljević was bound to leave traces in their mutual inclinations and almost irresistible aspirations for changing all visible worlds into drawings. They desired their hand to be daily perfected in the drawing skill, in the representations of the Parisian boulevards and the coffee house cocottes. Finally there was a definite affinity present in their drawing expressions, particularly in the witty elements, i.e. the ones close to caricature. Benković stayed in Paris from February to July 1912 but this relatively short period of keeping each others’ company resulted in the excellent portrait of Ivan Benković that Kraljević painted and that is kept in the Modern Gallery in Zagreb. We can learn from Benković’s autobiographical notes that while in Paris he had put all his emphasis on the inner enhancement and that he destroyed the majority of his works he had created in Paris. In October 1912 he opened in the Ulrich Salon his only exhibition prepared in his lifetime in Zagreb. Having married Marija Anger he left for America with his wife four days later. There he approached Nikola Tesla asking for his support and Tesla recommended him to the association Croatian Union and the newspapers Croatian World for which Benković he carried out several orders. After that he started working with greater intensity as illustrator in journals and producing advertisements for shops. At the beginning of the year 1915 he moved to Chicago and opened a studio as “designer, illustrator and caricaturist”. At that time he produced illustrations for folk poems ”Prince Marko outwitted by a girl” and the Death of Smail-Aga Čengić. Finally, in 1917 he managed to get a permanent job in the monthly Extension Magazine, and at the same time he collaborated in various newspapers where he frequently published his caricatures. The career that had just started was cut short by the epidemic of the so called Spanish influenza. He died at the age of 32. He had rarely exhibited in his lifetime. Posthumous exhibitions remind us from time to time of Benković’s talent. In Samobor in 1968 a memorial exhibition was prepared on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his death; in 1992 there was a retrospective exhibition opened in Karlovac. These were the opportunities when the professional and general public could be introduced to Benković’s work that first and foremost earmarks him as an excellent drawer and talented graphic artist. In the present permanent display of the Modern Gallery in Zagreb two of his pictures have been exhibited: Chicago from around 1914 and Bridgeport from the year 1914. Both pictures show Benković’s obvious talent for the discovery of unusual angles of observing the motif and a refined scale of tones and the vibrating, dense network of strokes. Furthermore, there is another interesting advertising poster of a kind that he had made for his own self-advertising purposes in America where he declares himself to be “illustrator, designer and caricaturist”. This denotes him as a modest person aware of being dedicated to the area of applied arts, first and foremost to the graphic industry. At the same time it is one of the first, if not the first advertisement of this kind made by the hand of a visual artist from Croatia. Frano Dulibić

Number: CROATIAN MODERN PAINTING
Type: P
Description:   The stamps have been issued in 6-stamp sheetlets, and there is also a First Day Cover (FDC).
Date: 28/11/2007

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