Naive Art Bringing Tourists to Podravina

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Source: Wikipedia

The Croatian naive art movement is based in the Podravina region.

Hlebine is not a typical Podravina village since the locals have always tried to be slightly different from their neighbours. Because of this, the Hlebine residents have been subjected to both envy and derision. But, this is not what makes them so special, says the Tourist Board of Central Podravina, the area known for its naive painters, reports Večernji List on October 12, 2018.

The municipality of Hlebine has about 1,300 inhabitants, and this is where the academic painter Krsto Hegedušić and his followers helped establish the Zemlja art group and developed the well-known Hlebine painting movement.

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The naive art from Hlebine, painted with oil on glass, is the protected intangible cultural heritage of Croatia. Hegedušić often came to Hlebine on vacation and met there then young men Ivan Generalić and Franjo Mraz, whose artworks he was delighted with. Later, they were joined by Mirko Virius, and three of them are considered to be the founders of the Hlebine painting movement.

The so-called second generation includes Mijo Kovačić, Ivan Večenaj, Ivan Lacković Croata, Dragan Gaži, Franjo Filipović, Martin Mehkek and Josip Generalić. The third generation of painters is currently active.

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The Gallery of Naive Art was built at Hlebine in 1968. The house in which Generalić lived has been transformed into a museum, with objects and documents, pictures, drawings, graphics… The Josip Generalić Gallery has opened 23 years ago.

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In nearby Koprivnica, the largest open-air naive art fair is held annually in late June or early July, where all the richness and diversity of art from the Hlebine movement can be experienced. This year’s 24th fair included about 40 naive artists, some 30 tradesmen and exhibitors, and the main theme was the nettle. The first Koprivnica beer made from nettle was also presented.

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“This started as a small event, but now, together with the Renaissance Festival, it has grown into the largest tourist event in Koprivnica,” Koprivnica Mayor Mišel Jakšić says.

In Goli, the Večenaj Gallery has been opened. In addition to the Ivan Večenaj art studio, it includes a gallery area. The Molve Art Circuit brings together dozens of painters and sculptors who opened a gallery in 1998. Another gallery presents the works of Mijo Kovačić, and is located not far from Molve, as part of a family house and art studio.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Ivica Beti).


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