Bratislava City Gallery ­– Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic
BRATISLAVA

Anton Jaszusch. Painter and visionary | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic

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The City Gallery of Bratislava  celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.

Exhibition

Anton Jaszusch. Painter and visionary

Mirbach Palace (show Contact)
14. 6. 2007 - 19. 8. 2007
Curator: Zsófia Kiss-Szemán

Anton Jasusch
- painter and visionary


Richly layered and noted for a few periods, more than a half century of creation by Anton Jasusch (1882 Košice – 1965 Košice) belongs among the top modern art manifestations of the 20th century in Slovakia.
The exhibition and the catalogue present a cross-section through the creation on the base of 81 artworks by Anton Jasusch from the nineteen tens to the sixties of the 20th century.
The exhibition and catalogue present an unusual view at the creation of Anton Jasusch on the example of the author’s best quality artworks, until now unseen paintings are presented in a new context, further is presented a reconstruction of a big cycle of Jasusch. At the exhibition you will see mainly two newly restored giant paintings with the sizes almost 3 x 3 m.
The exhibition and catalogue bring a new interpretation of a number of Jasusch’s paintings which until now were registered under the names Composition and they point out relations among the individual paintings.

Anton Jasusch was inspired by postimpressionist premises. The character of his creation before the First World War was set mainly by the painter’s interest in problems exclusively in fine art, mainly about the relation of space and a line but also his interest in the unusual, sensed through the painter – it means not natural colour-scheme in painting. As a result Jasusch created his personally understood painter’s expression, comprised of art deco segments, fed mainly by the art of two-dimensional decor and reminiscences of plain-air and impressionistic painting.
The First World War – the painter survived first in the Italian and Russian front, later in prisoner of war camps in the Far East from where he belatedly, only in 1920 returned home to Košice – shook up Jasusch’s spiritual world, it changed in a subsistent way his thinking, internal persuasion together with his mission as a painter and his artistic program: in the years 1920-1924 he created a large collection of thematic paintings concerning existential questions of man, meaning of life and a man’s place on Earth and also in the Universe as well as the character and also ethical mission of man.
The following three-four years meant for Jasusch the most important creative period. In that time he created his stunning picture cycles. It is a bigger complex of paintings to which belonged a twenty to twenty-four piece cycle of artworks with sizes approximately 150 x 172 cm and a big cycle of 10 paintings with dimensions almost 3 x 3 metres. At present half of this cycle is known – five from these large-sized canvases; four are in the Eastern-Slovak Gallery in Košice and one in the Slovak National Gallery. According to new research we can identify among them the following: Migration of souls, Life of man, Last judgement, Termination of the planet and Revolution.
The exhibition of Jasusch’s works in the year 1924 in Košice and in Bratislava brought about a wide and involved discussion on the pages of Bratislava’s dailies, probably the biggest in the history of fine art and exhibitions in Slovakia. This dialogue full of passion of various characters was developing in more levels: on an artistic, ideological, ideal and content (thematic) ones further it dealt with questions about originality of creation, but also with the national affiliation and nationality of the author, presence of moral and last but not least with eroticisms in Jasusch’s creation.

In the beginning of the thirties of the 20th century Jasusch again picked up creative energy and returned to creation which was characterised by smaller ideal pugnacity, diversity in style and also way of painting and also last but not least conformity to the requests of the market and public buying art as a decorative complement. He returned to approved ways of painting, they sporadically appeared in different periods of his creation which has been showing a colourful palette of themes including classical, work, sport and other scenes. From this later, qualitatively unstable creation of Anton Jasusch is remarkable a period on the brake of the twenties and thirties of the 20th century, when he created an unusual collection of paintings with a metaphoric motif of masks in different looks.
The last upswing of his creation started after the author’s exhibition in the year 1958 in Košice and in 1962 in Bratislava. Jasusch, beside thematic richness also in these years used a wide scale of artistic ideas, which he slightly modified and adjusted to different subjects, their mood and tone. Jasusch’s inborn feeling for rhythm and composition, but also his unique sense for decoration, colours and artistic monumental realisation found their use here as well.
In the last phase of Jasusch’s creation we find a collection of pastels which requested a more subtle artistic expression and interiorized conception of individual compositions and themes. A number of outstanding pastels were created; coloured and also white, mainly on black paper. In harmonic composition appear themes of family, motherhood also music, musicians etc. Jasusch returned to the beginnings of his creation also in the technique; first positive responses around the year 1912 spoke highly about his innovation in the use of pastel technique and new understanding of pastel as an artistic tool. With one of his last artworks Self-portrait the creation of this peculiar painter from Košice symbolically closes.
The more than a half century lasting creation of Anton Jasusch creates an inherent part of the history of fine art in Slovakia and definitely belongs among its top manifestations in the art between the wars here.
Zsófia Kiss-Szemán, curator

Exhibition will continue in Eastern-Slovak Gallery, Košice
13th of December 2007 – 27th of January 2008


From the period’s press
Jur Koza Matejov (in the daily Slovák):
“He comes out of this room in front of the public as a creator of a new style, new form, new revival and a new religion in painting. […] All will step out from shackles of materialism and will turn into mysticism of metaphysics. […] In front of us rolls, turns and moves some pantheistic world; urged by unknown eternal power, overwhelmed by a kind of almighty spirit in endless space. […] This is gigantic work and creation of one Slovak artist. […] Gentlemen, a meteorite appeared to us. If you want to or not, you still have to admire it!”
“I always envied great men of foreign nations. Today I will stop with my jealousy.”

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