The time of Frano Meneghello Dinčić

December 27th, 2016 - January 20th, 2017 > Opening on December 27th, 2016 at 19h

The sculptor from Dalmatia, as he calls himself on his medal Frano Menegelo Dinčić, was born in 1900, Kotor. It is an immensely important sculptor within the Yugoslav region and beyond. About a hundred years ago, in 1919, after finishing art school, he exhibited his self-portrait as well as the portrait of the US President Woodrow Wilson. After the first exhibition, he received a state scholarship for studying in Berlin and Prague with one of the world’s most prominent medalists, Professor Otokar Schpanel. He comes to light even before the Second World War when he won the competition for metal money from the National Bank of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. It was also the first money in the country that was minted by the model of the local medalist. Later on, in 1955, he won the competition for the model of Yugoslav coins of 10, 20, and 50 dinars.

The main part of  Dinčić’s opus consists of plaques and medals, among which portraits come to light, such as plaques with characters of Svetozar Marković, Branko Radičević, Vuk Karadžić, Jovan Sterija Popović, Josip Broz Tito, Jurij Bijankinij, Branko Krstić, and others. His bust of Nikola Tesla was built in Prague, 1937. During that period he exhibited and participated in the competitions in the production of monuments for the fallen Serbian fighters and victims of the wars of 1912 – 1918, that are built and located in Prokuplje, Šabac, Zaječar, and Jagodina. After the Second World War, he designed numerous medals and plaques with different motives.

The works of this important and versatile sculptor have been exhibited in exhibitions around the world and our country. Two large retrospective exhibitions were created in Belgarde (1983) and Split (1984), and most of his works remained in Split, Zagreb, and Belgrade.

Frano Menegelo Dinčić reminds us of his character of the necessity to create himself in any time and social context, and the characters from his portraits are poured out to remind us of the eternity and power of virtue.

In the O3ONE Gallery, from December 27th, 2016 until January 20th, 2017, you will have the opportunity to see a few reliefs and sculptures from the private collections of the members of the Frano Menegelo Dinčić family, among which the artist’s self-portraits will be exposed, along with portraits of his family, and the portrait of Svetozar Marković, a model for 10 dinar coin from 1953, as well as several sculptures and plaques with different thematics.

Significant and versatile sculptor Frano M. Dinčić contributed to the sculpture and the development of medallions and plaques in Serbia and throughout the Yugoslav context. He was born in Kotor, 1900. He studied at Sinj, Split, and Prague. After graduation at the High School of Sculpture, he has already completed his first works. This allowed him to receive a provincial government scholarship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. After completing the studies, he moves for a short time in Berlin. His exhibition activity lasted for nearly seven decades. Many details from his long life and artistic work have been published with a monographic edition that will be presented to the public within this lesser retrospective of medals and plaques.

F.M. Dinčić reached artistic maturity at the end of the third and during the fourth decade when he began more intensely to expose himself and to participate in numerous competitions for the constructions of the monuments for the fallen Serbian warriors and the victims of the 1912-1918 wars. As a young sculptor, he won the first prize competitions, besides the famous sculptors Đorđe Jovanović, Dragomir Arambašić, Sreten Stojanović, and others, for monuments in Zaječar, Jagodina (Svetozarevo), Prokuplje and Šabac. Today these monuments still reflect the “spirit of the epoch” and are witness of the wars and sculptural solutions that were ordered by the contractors precisely at the time when the spirit of the modern forms sparkled in Serbia when a small number of sculptures were tracing the roads that would be interrupted with the beginning of the Second World War and continued in the early fifties. In 1937, F.M Dinčić received two first prizes for coins at the National Bank of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia competition. As far as we know, that was the first time, that the solution of our sculptor was accepted. In the same year, he was in Prague at uncovering the Nikola Tesla monument who made an electric power station in Prague. Since then and especially during the post-war period, he has been more intensely present at numerous important exhibitions in the country and abroad. In 1953 he received the first prize for making coins at the contest of National Bank of FNRJ. In the second half of his life and this century, he has made the greatest number of medals and plaques of very diverse themes and applications.

As can be concluded from these several lines, F.M. Dinčić was the artistic person with unpredictable leaps from conventional sculptural achievements of his epoch and generation, but also a sculptor who manage to realize fundamental elements of the avant-garde: expression and stylization, leaving such traces of exceptional significance. His overall creativity about controversial opinions, and more than that, of silence, was a sufficient reason for the continuation of the author’s monographs of these Records, about his life and opus, and the reason for maintaining a less retrospective in the ULUS Gallery. Today there are about five hundred sculptures, medallions, plaques, and coins, most of them are cast in plaster and bronze, mostly from the post-war period. Only a selection from rich and valuable work is presented here. During his lifetime Frano Megelano Dinčić received a small number of awards, but he was awarded by the Croatian Numismatic Society and the Pedagogical Museum in Belgrade not only for the gratitude of an old master who devoted his entire life to sculpture but also a symbol that Croatian sculptor found his extraordinary place in Serbian art. With his works, he built significant sculptural elements into the foundations of contemporary Yugoslav art.

F.M. Dinčić received awards as best among medalists and plaque. On the one hand, the characters of King Petar II, reapers and workers on coins are, the best example of a high cultural felling for the most subtle undertoning of the character of these figures, and on the other hand, the movement and desire of the figures in supernatural efforts of supernatural sizes on the monuments of fallen soldiers for liberation of the homeland, make up the wide range of skills, rarely achieved in Yugoslav sculpture between two world wars and in the post-war period.

* Gallery ULUS 7 – November 27th, 1989.
* Text from the exhibition catalog of Vladeta Vojinović Art historian (1933 – 2014)

Milan Ivanišević