A Story of Remembrance – Hermann Weissmann’s heritage in the Osijek Museum institutions

(October 24, 2020–)


The Museum of Slavonia presents the valuable collection of Dr. Hermann Weissmann (1884 – 1942/1943), a Jewish lawyer from Osijek, who, amid World War II and the Holocaust, partly donated and partly stored the objects from his collection at the Museum of Slavonia in an attempt to save lives of his family. The collection includes art objects, paintings, and graphics, as well as the numismatic collection and library. The exhibition is carried out within the framework of the project Rediscover, expose and exploit the concealed Jewish heritage of the Danube Region. It tells the story of a man and his family, touching on the subject of difficult heritage—the persecution of Jews during the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), and the role museums played at the time. 

After the passing of the racial laws, the dislocation of Jews and the nationalization of their property started. In 1941 Weissmann wrote to the mayor of Osijek, and the county prefect, offering his library and art collections to the City of Osijek in exchange for permission to stay in his apartment. Thus begins the bureaucratic procedure for the donated objects to be listed so a donation contract could be composed, as recorded in the documents presented at this exhibition. The City of Osijek ordered Josip Bösendorfer, the director of the Museum of Slavonia at the time, who was active in rescuing seized Jewish and Serb property, to compose the list.

Weissmann and his family—wife Tessa and daughter Zdenka—did not manage to escape the tragic end. In 1942 they were deported to the Tenja concentration camp near Osijek to be transferred by train to Auschwitz. However, it is not clear whether the Weissmann family perished in Auschwitz. Dr. Weissmann's heirs, two surviving brothers, and nephews, contacted the Museum in 1947 over the property.

Thematically, works of art from Dr. Weissmann's collection can be divided into two categories: ones of a more intimate character with scenes of interiors or nudes, predominantly in oil on canvas technique, and exhibited in his home at Gajev Square 4, and depictions of city views—mainly graphics and drawings—adorning his office at Radićeva street 9. He also visited auctions and sales exhibitions abroad and most often collected works by contemporaries, European painters, and Croatian graphic artists.

The Weissmann numismatic collection contains Celtic, Roman, and Byzantine coins, as well as coins of Bosnian King Nikola Iločki. It also includes the most comprehensive collection of coins of the Republic of Ragusa, from the Middle Ages to the fall of the Republic in Napoleon's time. One of the more valuable items within the collection is the Levantine thaler of the Venetian Republic.

Dr. Weissmann's rich and diverse library consists of almost 4,000 volumes. The research of the apartment of Hermann's brother Karl, now owned by the Vekić family, led to the findings of Tessa's cookbook and daughter Zdenka's picture book. Books owned by other Jewish families were also found in Karl's library, which opens the possibility of further research on Jews in Osijek.


Ars et Virtus. Croatia – Hungary. 800 years of common heritage

September 24, 2020 – November 22, 2020 (Klovićevi dvori Gallery, Zagreb)

December 16, 2020 – March 15, 2021 (Hungarian National Museum, Budapest)


When Ladislaus I of Hungary established the Diocese of Zagreb, he laid the foundations for the development of the capital of Croatia. His heir Coloman was crowned in Biograd in 1102 as King of Hungary, Dalmatia, and Croatia, marking the beginning of the Hungarian-Croatian state union. In the dynastic union from 1102 to 1918, Croats and Hungarians both benefited from the coexistence—the longest and most peaceful one in Europe. The exhibition will give insight into contacts in the sphere of culture and fine arts, showcasing chronologically some of the greatest works of art from the Hungarian-Croatian heritage from the Middle Ages to 1918. 

Some of the objects on view are the Chest of Saint Simeon, as one of the most beautiful goldsmith monuments from the late Middle Ages; the oldest surviving work of easel painting—‘Crucifixion’ by G. F. Tolmezzo; a golden deer once owned by the Zrinskis; antependium from the 14th-century Benedictine church in Zadar, now housed in the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest. Also, visitors will be able to see never exhibited Croatian flag from the middle of the 17th century with the Latin inscription ‘Croatiae’ and the checkered coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia, borrowed for the first time from the Private Foundation of the Esterházy family in Austria, as well as the helmet and saber of Nikola Zrinski (1508–1566) from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. A real treat is ‘Dubravka,’ the monumental painting by Bukovac, which came into the possession of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest with the purchase of the Hungarian government from the Millennium Exhibition in 1896.

The Klovićevi dvori Gallery, Zagreb, and the Hungarian National Museum, Budapest, organized the exhibition jointly at the initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia on the occasion of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2020.


From Imagination to Animation – Six Decades of Zagreb Film

Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb

January 30, 2020 – January 31, 2021

For historians and critics of animation, the term Zagreb School of Animated Film is referring to the group of animators who worked in the Zagreb Film’s Studio for Animated Film, using the technique of cel animation, but with every one of them having their unique style and vision. It was not long after the founding of the Studio in 1956 that the international success came. Vatroslav Mimica was awarded the Venice Grand Prix for his 1958 animated short filmThe Loner, and in 1962 Dušan Vukotić became the first non-American Oscar winner for his animated short The Substitute. Zagreb Film also produced four animated shows: Hound for Hire, Inspector Mask, Professor Balthazar, and The Little Flying Bears.

Building on that reputation, Zagreb has become recognizable for its long tradition of animation, and every year since 1972 is hosting Animafest Zagreb, one of the four biggest festivals of animated film in the world.

To learn more, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, which has put together the most extensive exhibition on Zagreb and Croatian animation to date, presenting more than 200 animated films, many original drawings, archival materials, and objects.


Reflections of Bauhaus: the Academy of Applied Arts in Zagreb, 1949-1955

Klovićevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb

October 22, 2019 – January 12, 2020

In celebration of the founding of Bauhaus (1919 – 1920), Klovićevi Dvori Gallery is presenting works created by artists who graduated from the Academy of Applied Arts in Zagreb. The short-lived Academy spurred only two generations of artists but made an impermeable mark on Croatian modern art. Its revolutionary curriculum which cultivated experimentation with materials and technology echoed the spirit of the famous German art school.

The Academy of Applied Arts was founded 70 years ago, but the reason why it was closed will probably never be known. It is speculated that the financial difficulties and even rivalry with the competing Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb contributed greatly to its dissolution. Since the paper trail is scarce and with almost none of the student works left, this exhibition is focused on bringing forth the originality in expression, and versatility of artists educated on the Academy, who through their work continued to spread the ideas and influence of the Academy long after its dissolution.


King Saul being greeted in triumph after David's defeat of Goliath by Renaissance painter and etcher Andrea Schiavone

Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb

Painting King Saul being greeted in triumph after David''s defeat of Goliath by Renaissance painter and etcher Andrea Schiavone sold in December 2018 at Christie’s Old Masters Day Sale, is on view at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb from February 2019.

The painting, oil on panel (92.5 x 109.8 cm.) was always a part of different private collections, so it was never on display for the general public. It has an interesting provenance: among prominent owners, one of the last ones was H.R.H. Prince Paul of Yugoslavia (1893-1976). This time it was again bought by a private collector - a Croatian and British citizen who loaned it to the Museum of Arts and Crafts.

Andrea Schiavone, or Andrea Meldolla (Andrija Medulić in Croatian), was born in Zadar, present-day Croatia, in c. 1510 and died in Venice in 1563.


Vlaho Bukovac and Alexandre Cabanel – a historic encounter of pupil and teacher

Art Pavilion in Zagreb

October 3, 2018 – January 6, 2019

Vlaho Bukovac (1855 – 1922) was the most distinguished Croatian painter at the turn of the 20th century. He is credited for the initiative to open the Art Pavilion in Zagreb with the main purpose to host large-scale exhibitions. So in celebration of the 120th anniversary of its foundation, the Art Pavilion will showcase the works of Bukovac together with that of his teacher of painting in Paris at the École des beaux-arts, Alexandre Cabanel (1823 – 1889).

Following the earlier exhibition, ‘Vlaho Bukovac in Paris’ held at the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb (January 18, 2018 - March 11, 2018), the exhibition at the Art Pavilion will focus on presenting Cabanel’s influence on Bukovac’s painting featuring more than 140 works of art.

As a painter, Cabanel is probably best known for ‘The Birth of Venus’ (1863, Musée d’Orsay in Paris), a notable example of 19th-century academic painting, bought by Napoleon III. Young Bukovac was eager to enroll in Cabanel’s class which had already been filled up. Thanks to the small painting he then executed titled ‘Hand’ (1877, Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik), Bukovac was nonetheless admitted. He studied at the École des beaux-arts from 1877 until 1880 and also exhibited with great success at the Paris Salon.

Cabanel’s paintings which have never before been exhibited in Croatia are lent by the Petit Palais - Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, the Musée Inguimbertine, Carpentras, the Palais de Compiègne - Musée et domaine nationaux, Compiègne, the Musée Fabre, Montpellier (the Art Pavilion’s partner for the exhibition, since Montpellier was Cabanel’s hometown) and by the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. On the other hand, Bukovac’s works will come from Croatian museums (such as the Modern Gallery, Zagreb, the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, and Konavle County Museum - House Bukovac, Cavtat) as well as from museums from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia. Furthermore, some of his rarely exhibited paintings come from private collections.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog with the textual contribution made by Igor Zidić, art historian and expert in Bukovac’s work, Pierre Stépanoff, manager of the Collection of Paintings from the 14th to the 19th century in the Musée Fabre, and by Michel Hilaire, the Musée Fabre director and the leading French expert in the oeuvre of Alexandre Cabanel.