Seissel Donation


Seissel Donation

The Silvana Seissel Donation is an art collection owned by the City of Zagreb, which was given to Museum of Contemporary Art in 1993 for management purposes: preservation, maintenance, and presentation. The Museum received paintings and architectural designs from Silvana Seissel, wife of architect, urban planner, and artist Josip Seissel, also known under the pseudonym Jo Klek, according to the artist's personal wish. The donation obtained the official status of a "Donation to the City of Zagreb" and Silvana Seissel the status of a donor.

Josip Seissel was an architect, urban planner, painter, educationist, and academic scholar, famous for the large scope of his activities and his artistic prolificacy. He graduated from the Polytechnic in Zagreb, where he later taught urban planning. While pursuing his official career, he was devoted to the visual arts and left behind a large oeuvre of drawings and paintings. He was active in the avant-garde movement of Zenitism and is considered the founder of Croatian Constructivism, as well as a pioneer of Surrealism. Most of his paintings included in the donation belong precisely to that Surrealist phase, covering a span of more than half a century. As a part of his personal legacy, the donation covers all his important phases and artistic interests from the 1920s until his death in 1987.

The donation consists of two large thematic units. The first includes artworks belonging to the field of visual arts (drawings, watercolours, pastel and tempera paintings) made in the period from 1921-1987, including the particularly important cycle of 19 combined verbal/visual pieces in the techniques of watercolour, ink, and tempera, known under the title 3C i tričarije.

The second, somewhat less numerous, group covers the field of architecture and urban planning (designs and project documentation) and dates from the period 1930-1985. An especially interesting thematic unit is that of the Foundation Block in Zagreb, in which Seissel's co-author was Josip Pičman.

In 1997, MSU organized a large exhibition of the Donation at the Visual Artists' Centre (HDLU) in Zagreb and the exhibition venues of the Museum, with the publication of an extensive monograph entitled Josip Seissel: Nadrealističko razdoblje [J.S.: The Surrealist Period] by the exhibition's curator Marijan Susovski.



Collection manager: Ivana Kancir, senior curator