Ivan Lackovic, Croatian (1932 - 2004)

Ivan Lackovic was born in the village of Batinska in 1932. He was one of four brothers with a difficult childhood. Life became even harder after his father died when Lackovic was thirteen. Nonetheless, he successfully completed four years of elementary school, even though it was 6 kilometers away, and in his spare time he started cultivating the family plot of land. Subsequently, he worked on a forestry plantation and as a postman to earn a living.

After he and his wife married they decided to move to Zagreb, as many people had done before them, to try urban life and find work in a factory. Lackovic’s breakthrough in painting came when he decided to transform the exterior of his house into his ideal home -guardian angels were depicted watching over them from above and the imaginary garden was filled with beautiful flowers. The local art teacher praised his work and provided Lackovic with the encouragement to continue painting.

Although Lackovic appreciated his urban comfort he continued to miss the country life. It is through his paintings that he reveals how much he cherished the lifestyle he grew up with, even though winter scenes with crisp snow, blue skies and people wearing their best clothes reveal nothing of the harsh reality Lackovic himself experienced. Instead, the paintings which are richly detailed and show his skill and sensitivity for composition while lending everything an aura of serene contentment.

He painted poetic scenes from his native region of Podravina in tempera and oil on glass (a traditional technique of the naive artists from north Croatia), while turning increasingly to the medium of drawing. Detailed winter scenes prevail in his early works. In the 1970s, he turned towards allegory, symbolism and the fantastic. The atmosphere of his paintings is lyrical and surreal.

He most frequently drew landscapes, figurative compositions, flowers and still lives. Portraits are very rare. He illustrated many books of prose and poetry.

Lacković had more than a hundred one-man exhibitions at home and abroad (Cologne, Zurich, Paris, Bremen, Laval, Münster, Turin, Rome, Caracas, Milan, Hague, São Paulo, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Madrid, St. Petersburg). His works are exhibited in famous world museums: the Museum der 20. Jahrhunderts in Vienna, the Museu de Arte Contemporânea in Sao Paolo, the Metropolitan Museum in Manila, the Musee Henri Rousseau in Laval, the Setagaya Museum in Tokyo, the Museum of Art at the Carnegie Institute, the Museo Civico di Belle Arti in Lugano, and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in the Vatican. He created theater sets for the HNK in Zagreb and the Stadtopernhaus in Graz.

As a Croatian patriot, he was among the founders of the Croatian Democratic Union. He was elected twice as a member of the County Chamber of the Croatian Parliament.

In the 1990s, he drew a series of drawings about the human suffering in the Croatian War of Independence. He died in Zagreb.

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