Collections Department

The Collections Department systematically collects, studies, exhibits and publishes the museum material. Thanks to the development-ori ented shaping of the holdings, through its 130 years of activity and phases of museological development that pertain to them the Muse um of Arts and Crafts has systematically developed its collections, re organised existing, founded new. Today this department looks after 100,000 objects spread across twenty collections: architecture, ivory, devotionalia, photographs and photographic equipment, graphic de sign, prints, musical instruments, ceramics, sculpture, metal, furni ture, painted leather, product design, clocks & watches, painting, glass, textiles and fashion accessories, printing and book binding, and the varia collection.

In the recent permanent display of the Museum opened in 1995, more than 3000 objects from the holdings are presented. Because of the spa tial restrictions and the sensitivity of the materials, the permanent display does not feature objects from recent photography and photo graphic equipment, architecture, prints and the varia collection, which we will present here.
The Collection of Photographs of the Museum of Arts and Craft, founded in 1939, is today organised in three sub collections: old pho tography, recent photography and photographic equipment. The sub collection of old photography collects and looks after photographic works from the appearance of the first photographers in Croatia in the mid-19th century to the 1950s. Selected works of Croatian photographs created since 1950 are brought together in the recent photography sub collection. The photographic equipment part of the collection holds photographic cameras with ancillary equipment made between 1850 and the end of the 20th century.

Since the 1960s, in parallel with the exhibitions of photographs, the holdings of recent photographs have developed, donations being con firmed as the prevailing way in which photographic material is ac quired.

After the exhibition 100 Years of Photography in Croatia (1840-1940) the nucleus of today s recent photography sub collection was formed, through donations of leading Croatian photographers, including, in particular, Tošo Dabac, Mladen Grčević, Marijan Szabo, the brothers Brkan and Oto Hohnjec. In the 1970s the photographs of Jozo Četković, Aleksandar Kukec, Branko Balić, Petar Dabac, Enes Midžić, Zlata Vucelić, Zvonimir Malus, Krešimir Tadić and Nino Vranić. Works of the then younger generation of photographers Josip Klarica, Ivan Posavec, Željko Borčić and Stephan Lupino enriched the museum holdings of the 1980s.

The recent photography subcollection was considerably enhanced and enlarged in the second half of the 1990s and in the first decade of this century with the oeuvres of Mladen Grčević, Milan Pavić, Fernando So prano, Zlata Laura Mizner, Andrija Orlić, Marija Braut, Bolto Ranilović, and a selection of the works of Mladen Tudor, Krešimir Tadić, Mio Vesović and Luka Mjeda. Through the works of artists represented in the recent photography holdings of MUO it is possible to gain an impres sion of the dominant poetic orientation in Croatian photography over the last six decades: from the final period of socialist realism and the simultaneous appearance of avant-garde tendencies, of the Family of Man of Edward Steichen, of subjective photography, newspaper pho tography and the periodicals Globus and Polet, to the pluralism of post modernism borne out in the diversity of idioms and the processing of the photographic image.

The photographic equipment collection was founded in 1939 at the urging of Vladmir Tkalčić, for many years director of the MUO, as well as a very proficient amateur photographer. It consists of approximately 2300 objects, which allow us to track the development of hardware from the time of the invention of the art all the way up to digital cameras.

The first acquisitions for the print collection date from 1785, when Izidor Kršnjavi, at his disposal funds from Bishop Strossmayer, bought from a Paris auction of the estate of Catalonian painter and collector Mariano Fortuny several hundred engravings and woodcuts . Collocated with the painting collection for decades, the graphic arts collection was opened to the public in 1939 as a new section, marking the sixti eth anniversary of the Museum.

These holdings, created through purchases and donations, include works of European and locally produced graphic art covering the tem poral range from the 16th to the 21st century. Whether these are origi nal prints or those that transfer existing artworks, in the European printmaking unit, most in evidence are those of masters of the French, Italian and Flemish schools, some of the specimens stand ing out for their artistic value and exceptional skill of execution. In the Croatian printmaking unit, as well as pieces by artists who rep resent the peaks of printmaking work in the country (M. Kraljević, T. Krizman, M. Cl. Crnčić, Lj. Babić, M. Trepše, Z. Šulentić, S. Glumac, A. Kinert…) there are many works by contemporary Croatian artists.

Although architectural drawings, photographs and mock-ups were collected for the holdings as long ago as the early 20th century, they were put together in a distinct collection of architecture only in the 1980s. Today the architecture collection contains more than a thousand works by almost all of the creative minds who had an important role in the Croatian architectural scene from the Revival period at the end of the 19th century to the most recent times. Special units inside the collection consist of photographs and drawings donated to the museum after architectural exhibitions and those in which architec ture was particularly featured the Paris International Exposition in 1925, the Architecture in Croatia 1945 1985 exhibition, Architecture of the 70s in Croatia, Problems, Phenomena and Tendencies, 12 Proposals to Za greb, 1992, for Zagreb 1994. The collection is being constantly reinforced with works of the very youngest generations of Croatian architects.

The Varia Collection is but a small part of the holdings of MUO, yet composed of material that complements and enriches it, considering the museum type which is based on the production of the fine crafts. It comprises about 350 items, most of them being tobacco requisites, pipes, cigarette and match cases, snuffboxes and the like. Most of the items are of foreign origin, and they date from the 18th to the 20th century. The criterion for belonging to this collection is the material used, and hence some of the material is found in other collections (metals, ceramics, ivory and so on). As well as the tobacco-related implements, one other part of the Varia Collection is made up of wooden pots and so on used in druggists’.