Zoran Mušič was an Italian painter and drawer born in 1909 in Bukovica. He was known for his landscapes, portraits and still lives as well as his depictions of Dachau. Mušič studied at the Académie des beaux-arts of Zagreb before travelling to Spain then Ljubljana, Venice and Trieste.

He was deported to Dachau after refusing to be a part of an auxiliary unit of the nazi army. Mušič was brought to the camp infirmary for being sick. It was there that he drew his surroundings on stolen pieces of paper. The drawings, small and few allowed him to stay hopeful. In 1945 he returned to Venice where he met Massimo Campigli, Oskar Kokoschka, Mark Tobey and Carson McCullers. He started a horse series with blue, orange and purple colors, a subject matter that reminded him of his happy childhood. In 1948 he made sketches of landscapes around Sienna which resemble those of the Brda hills and he exhibited for the first time at the Venice Biennale.

In 1961 he drew at Cortina d’Ampezzo in the dolomites. One of his series of notable portraits from 1970 to 1976 titled « We are not the last ones » brings the viewer back to this tragic period in Dachau. The paintings and etchings reference the cadavers and the discarded bodies, provoking stupor. They were exhibited at the Haus der Kunst (Munich), Brussels and at the Modern Art Museum in Paris.

The artist was awarded the Gualino prize in 1950, the Paris prize in 1951, and the Grand Prix for a work exhibited during the Venice Biennale. In 1952, his first exhibition in Paris is organized by Myriam Prévot and Gildo Caputo. He participated in the Salon de Mai in 1953 and received the UNESCO prize in 1960. A large retrospective was dedicated to him at the Grand Palais in 1995 as well as at the Modern Gallery of Ljubljana in 2009. He died in 2005 in Venice. Permanent exhibitions of his works can be found at the château de Dobrovo in Brda and the National Gallery of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Paintings, drawings and etchings of his are featured in the biggest museum of Germany, Croatia, Canada, Spain, the U.S., France, Italy, Mexico, Slovenia and Switzerland.
Zoran Mušič
Photo Credit : © DR