Zoran Music

Dalmatian Landscape


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Zoran Music 1909–2005
Original title
Terres dalmates
Etching on paper
Image: 415 × 572 mm
Purchased 1986

Catalogue entry

P77168 Dalmatian Landscape 1959
Terres dalmates

Etching 415 × 572 (16 3/8 × 22 1/2) on Arches paper 502 × 655 (19 3/4 × 25 3/4); plate-mark 416 × 575 (16 3/8 × 22 5/8); watermark ‘ARCHES’; printed at Atelier Lacourière, Paris and published by Galerie de France, Paris in an edition of 75

Inscribed ‘Music 59’ below image b.r. and ‘39/75’ below image b.l.

Purchased at Hauswedell and Nolte, Hamburg (Grant-in-Aid) 1986

Lit: Erich Steingräber, Music: Malerei, Zeichnung, Graphik, exh. cat., Kunsthalle Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt 1977, p.67 (repr.); Georges Charbonnier, Le Monologue du peintre, Paris 1980, pp.374–5; Rolf Schmücking, Zoran Music: Das Graphische Werk 1947–1981, Basel 1986, p.85 (repr.)

‘Dalmatian Landscape’ is a seemingly abstract, two-tone work in which irregularly shaped pale areas are enclosed by darker areas and the whole surface is covered with small dark dots. According to the artist, it was made using one etching plate and two inkings (conversation with the compiler, 5 September 1988). The plate was deeply bitten with acid, inked in brown and wiped over, leaving small traces of brown ink in the deep crevices. Black ink was then rolled over the surface and an impression taken. Music made several closely related prints in the late 1950s, including ‘Landscape’, 1959 (aquatint, 378 × 536 mm, repr. Schmücking 1986, p.81) and ‘Adriatic Landscape’, 1959 (etching, 414 × 567 mm, repr. ibid., p.88).

P77168 is one of a large number of works inspired by the Dalmatian landscape in northern Yugoslavia, where Music lived from 1935 to 1940. In such earlier works as ‘Dalmatian Subject’, 1948 (oil on canvas, 460 × 610 mm, repr. Music, exh. cat., Museo Correr, Venice 1985, p.42), horses and bushes are clearly recognisable within the landscape. Music was then living in Venice but in 1953 he took a studio in Paris and thereafter divided his time between the two cities. In Paris his work became gradually less obviously figurative. Despite its appearance, Music does not consider P77168 to be abstract. The artist did not refer to sketches or photographs of the area but worked instead from his memories of the Dalmatian region. In conversation with the compiler he explained that he felt that by relying on memory the unimportant details faded away, leaving only the essentials.

When Music moved to the Dalmatian coast from Spain in 1935, he found that the scorched red and brown colours, the arid hills and the rhythmic pattern of bushes in the region reminded him of Gorizia in northern Italy, where he was born. This landscape became, in his own words, an ‘obsession’:

Imagine a great plain of stones relieved only by little round hillocks ... A poor area, dry and monotonous, without trees ... Then add the fact that it almost never rains and that the whole plateau is habitually raked by the bora, a horrible wind as ferocious as the Mistral ... The place became such an obsession with me that when I talk about it I no longer know whether I'm describing the landscape itself or my paintings of it.

(quoted in Michael Peppiatt,
‘In the Silence of Time’, Zoran Music, exh. cat.,
12 Duke Street Gallery 1980, p.6)

The artist has approved this entry.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996

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