This image has All Rights Reserved.
Please follow the Buy or license link under each image to apply to use this image. (Charges may apply)
Why you need to apply for the use of this image
Rights for this work may be:
- controlled by the artist, the artist's estate, or other rights holders; or
- unclear - Te Papa will do a more detailed analysis of the work’s rights history; or
- covered by Te Papa’s Mana Taonga principle which supports the rights of holders of traditional knowledge to determine how the image may be used.
You need to make sure you don’t infringe on the rights of third parties before you use this image. Our image request process helps with this. Te Papa does not authorise the use of this image beyond the uses allowed by the “fair dealing” provisions of the New Zealand Copyright Act, 1994.
More information about copyright
We recommend these resources for more information:
- Copyright in NZ - Ministry of Economic Development
- Copyright guidelines and resource - Lianza
- Enabling use and re-use - Digital NZ
Find more information about Te Papa's rights project on our blog, including how rights types are assigned.
Get in touch
Please contact email@example.com
- if you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, or
- if you wish to contact the rights holder for this work. We will assist where we can.
Mrkusich, Milan (artist), 1955, Auckland
|Medium summary||oil on cotton fixed to hardboard|
|Materials||oil paint, cotton, hardboard|
x 722mm (Width)
Frame: 667mm (Height) x 757mm (Width) x 52mm (Depth)
|Credit line||Purchased 1979 with Special Projects in the Arts funds|
This abstract oil painting by Milan Mrkusich was painted in 1955. It is one of a series of his paintings from that period that are studies of the advancing and receding qualities of certain colours. Buildings is grid of larger squares and rectangles that has been overlaid with smaller areas of bright colour. In this way Mrkusich has achieved a contrast between the order of the grid and the optical shimmer of the colour areas.
Mrkusich's painting recalls Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie-Woogie paintings of the 1940s. Mrkusich, who didn't travel overseas until 1982, knew of international modern art through books and magazines. Along with the geometric abstraction of Mondrian, Mrkusich was interested in the gestural and spontaneous modernism of painters like Kandinsky. Buildings' combination of broad gestural brushwork and geometric structure shows aspects of both these traditions.
A commitment to abstraction
According to Michael Dunn and Petar Vuletic, who curated the first retrospective of Mrkusich's work in 1972, Buildings suggests 'an effect of moonlight on a group of houses'. They go on to note that 'In terms of abstraction, these paintings, which have subject references, appear retrogressive; however, in their handling of colour they reveal a new degree of sophistication.'
While the atmospheric effects of Buildings do evoke a landscape at night, Mrkusich is more correctly understood as an abstract painter. The painting's formal relationships are internal, rather than toward external subjects like the twinkling lights of buildings. Mrkusich is notable for his commitment to abstract art at a time when New Zealand painting was dominated by landscape and figurative painting.
Te Papa's collection
There are thirteen paintings by Mrkusich in the Te Papa collection. He also created a mural of glass spandrels on the south facade of Te Papa's Cable Street building.
Results from DigitalNZ
Searching 27 million digital objects from over 150 content partners across New Zealand
- Buildings of stone - BRANZ
- Municipal buildings - Feilding Library
- Building a Haystack - Kete Horowhenua
- Unidentified brick building near Auckland City Council Administration Building - Auckland Libraries
Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.