The founding of the Virgilije Nevjestić Foundation is the first step in the reaffirmation of his oeuvre. Its founders hope to see the creation of a Virgil House Multimedia Centre in Zagreb to showcase the artist’s work, host events, other artists and institutions, literary evenings, concerts, and workshops.
The Virgilije Nevjestić Foundation, established with the objective of protecting, preserving, studying, and presenting the legacy of artist Virgilije Nevjestić, a painter, printmaker and poet, was promoted on 22 October at Zagreb’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
The foundation was established by the Nevistić (Nevjestić) family and is managed by Vesna Jurić Bulatović. It aims to work towards creating a multimedia museum and gallery, the Virgil House Multimedia Centre, to showcase the work of Virgilije Nevjestić and to house a reconstruction of his atelier in the French capital of Paris.
The foundation also aims to study, contribute to the appreciation of, and publish the artist’s oeuvre for broader audiences through exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and through collaboration with Zagreb’s Academy of Fine Arts and other culture institutions in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, his native Tomislavgrad and France.
The initiative is supported by Croatia’s foreign and European affairs minister Gordan Grlić Radman, who noted his own personal sense of affiliation with the artist’s work on account of also having roots in the Tomislavgrad area, adding that Nevjestić was for him a constant source of motivation and inspiration. Mr Grlić Radman expressed his delight that the foundation would bring to the general public, youth in particular, an opportunity to discover the breadth of the artist’s talent, which, thanks to his perseverance and tenacity first met with appreciation in Paris.
The foundation’s president Vesna Jurić Bulatović noted that the artist’s oeuvre comprised an abundance of works, including thousands of prints, diary entries, a rich library, and the artist’s atelier. She expressed her hope that the Croatian government and the City of Zagreb would provide premises for the foundation and the artist’s legacy. She noted that the first showing of the artist’s work in Zagreb was back in 2014 during the Dnevnici snoviđenja (“Diaries of Dream Visions”) exhibition staged at the Museum of Arts and Crafts.
Most of the oeuvre of Virgilije Nevjestić has survived, including the works considered to have earned him a place among the most important printmakers of the twentieth century. These include several thousand prints, matrices, his engraving tools, and the press on which he created his prints, oils and pastels.
No less important are his diaries, in which he made daily entries commenting on the people of his time, art, love, and life, and dozens of notebooks with sketches and drawings, his unpublished poetry, bibliophile editions of print folios, a wealth of documentation, photographs, and the preserved items of his atelier.
Vlatko Marić, the president of the Paris chapter of AMCA (Almae Matris Croaticae Alumni) and a friend of the late Virgilije Nevjestić, noted that the artist was known as a printmaker, painter and poet, but that it is often forgotten that he also taught art and was a teacher in whom his students could find compassion and support.
“He was also a restorer, who gave new life to works of art, taught others this craft, and was a chronicler of his time, keeping a serious diary in which he wrote of events and of the people he met, often illustrating them,” Marić added.
Nevjestić lived for art, Marić observed, and his work was a reflection of his character: that of a man who holds to his dignity and sense of justice.
Virgilije Nevistić (Kolo near Tomislavgrad, Bosnia-Herzegovina 1935–Paris, France 2009) moved to Paris not long after completing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1963 where he found an atelier at No 28 on the Boulevard Saint Jacques.
He was a fixture of the French art scene in the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s. He was a member of the leading French associations of printmakers, and founded L’academie Virgile in Paris, where he taught printmaking. He also taught at IFROA (Institut français de restauration des oeuvres d’arts).
Over his forty-year career he received multiple awards and prizes, and staged exhibitions at leading European and international institutions, museums and galleries.
The founding of the Virgilije Nevjestić Foundation is the first step in the reaffirmation of his oeuvre. Its founders hope to see the creation of a Virgil House Multimedia Centre in Zagreb to showcase the artist’s work, host events, other artists and institutions, literary evenings, concerts, and workshops. (Hina)