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Ivan Generalic

Generalić, Ivan, Croatian naive/folk painter (Hlebine, December 21, 1914 - Koprivnica, November 27, 1992). By profession a farmer, the central figure of the Hlebine painting school. His talent was noticed by K. Hegedušić, who instructed him in the basics of painting. He exhibited for the first time with the group Zemlja in 1931 drawings and watercolors characterized by socially critical realism close to the group's aspirations (Winter in Hlebine, 1931; Fight at Farewell, 1933). He later painted mostly on glass with oil or tempera narrative motifs from life in the countryside and work in the fields, Podravina landscapes and still lifes (Funeral of Štef Halaček, 1934; Gypsy Matchmakers, 1936; In the Forest, 1938; Island, 1940; Dead Singer, 1954 ; Death of my friend Virius, the Lumberjack and the Deer Matchmaker, all painted 1959). After 1970, he changed the morphology and the way of painting, adapting to symbolic and existential contents, and in almost monochrome paintings he increased the details to monumental proportions (Self-Portrait, 1975).

In technique and subject matter, Generalić connects various elements: from folk art speech, folklore painting on glass and Breugel's direct realism to H. Rousseau's poetic naivety and surrealism, which he complements with his own intervention in the reality of rural life. The figures in his paintings are rustic and almost flat, placed mostly in the foreground of the painting with a poeticized landscape in the background, which he brings meticulously with many details, especially the coral treetops that become a hallmark of his style. He pays special attention to perspective and space, and subtle tonal transitions stand out in color. His oeuvre is one of the most original phenomena in contemporary Croatian painting.