In the year of celebrating its 90th anniversary, The Museum of Fine Arts in Split is starting its exhibition programme with the critical retrospective of Jerolim Miše, one of the greatest artists Croatian painting has ever produced. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb, where it was shown during December and January, and on the occasion of 130th anniversary of the birth and 50th anniversary of the death of this prominent Croatian painter.
The exhibition entitled Jerolim Miše: From Rebel to Bard, in which Ana Šeparović, as the author of the exhibition and set-up, presents the phenomenological and problematic review of the opus through the characteristic thematic or ideological units. Since Miše tried his hand in a variety of media and genres: painting, graphic design, art criticism and literature, the paintings in the exhibition are accompanied by his texts, as well as those of his contemporaries. In addition, numerous forces are highlighted – the historical, political and social context, the intellectual and spiritual horizon as well as ideologemes and spirit of the times – that were reflected in his works and that reveal to us just how incredibly layered this complex oeuvre really is. The exhibition showcases artworks from all periods: from the 1910s when he, as a young painter, presented himself as a rebel who destroys old inherited values, to the post-war period when he became part of the art establishment – the bard, who earned, during his lifetime, a canonical place within Croatian visual arts.
The exhibition set-up brings over 100 of the artist’s paintings and drawings, mostly from the holdings of the National Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Split, but also many other museum institutions, public and private collections. The exhibition is accompanied by an elaborate catalogue, co-published by both museums and edited by Lada Bošnjak Velagić, senior curator of the National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb.
Jerolim Miše was born 25 September 1890 in Split where he graduated from primary (1900) and secondary grammar school (1908). From 1908 to 1909 he attended the Architectural, Arts and Crafts School in Split, and in 1910 continued his education at the Department of Painting, led by Oton Iveković, in the Provisional College of Arts and Fine Crafts in Zagreb, from which he got evicted in 1911. He continued his studies in 1912 at the Istituto di Belle Arti in Rome, where he became politically active in the circle around Ivan Meštrović and the pro-Yugoslav oriented Dalmatian youth. After spending some time in Florence during 1913, he came back to Split in 1914 and had his first solo exhibition. During the war (1915 – 1917) he spent time in the Austrian army performing “light duty” in Glina, without contact with the battlefield. From 1917 to 1920 he was an assistant teacher of drawing at the Provisional Lower Secondary School in Krapina. In 1919 he travelled to Vienna, became a member of the Art Society and married Anka Malešević from the Čingrija family of politicians from Dubrovnik. From 1920 to 1923 he worked as an assistant teacher of drawing at the Secondary School in Brod (Slavonski Brod). He continued teaching drawing at the Royal and Crownland School of Crafts in Zagreb, as well as at the First Royal Women’s Secondary School in Zagreb (1925 – 1938). In 1938 he moved to Belgrade work as a professor at the newly founded Academy of Fine Arts. In 1941 he moved back to Zagreb and worked as a draughtsman in the Croatian Publishing and Bibliographic Institute (HIBZ) in Zagreb. In 1943 he became a professor at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts where he worked until his retirement in 1961. He was a member of Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Science (JAZU): corresponding member since 1952, full member 1961, was an editor-in-chief of the JAZU Bulletin of the Institute of Fine Arts (1953 – 1955). He was the recipient of the “Vladimir Nazor” Lifetime Achievement Award in 1969. He died in Split on 14 September 1970 and was buried in the Lovrinac cemetery.
During the six decades of intensive work he was established as a painter and an art critic, but also he did some work in literature and graphic design. His works were shown in more than thirty solo exhibitions (24 in his lifetime and 9 posthumously). He had his last solo show during his lifetime at the Museum of Fine Arts in Split. He exhibited also as a member of prominent art groups: he was active in the Spring Salon exhibitions (1916 – 1922), the Independent Group of Artists (1921 – 1927) the Group of Three (1930 – 1935) and exhibited in over 200 various group shows.