Kristian Kreković (1901–1985) was a Bosnian Croat painter of portraits and ethnographic art. Later in life he became known for his fascination with Incan art, and spent a number of years living in Peru.
Kreković is believed to have been born in the village of Koprivna near Modriča, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary, to a family originally from the region of Lika (modern-day Croatia). At the end of World War I Kreković went to Vienna to study, although he eventually completed his studies in Paris. His first public exhibition was in 1925 in the Lounge des Artistes Français. In 1928 he was made a member of the French Society of Visual Arts and awarded the gold medal in the Bordeaux exhibition of international art.
In 1930 Kreković he began travelling with his wife Sina to Peru, where he was to reside for a period of 35 years. During this time Kreković studied many aspects of the Incan civilisation, and often travelled in the Andes looking for indigenous subjects to paint. He travelled back to Europe on several occasions during this period, and at various stages was commissioned to paint portraits of the Queen Consort, Queen Elizabeth and a number of other members of European royal houses.
In 1931 Kreković became friends with and painted a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, who is quoted as saying "The sentiment of Kristian Kreković towards the world is unique. It impregnates all his art, and it impregnates it with extraordinary creativity and constructive character."
In 1955 the Peruvian Government sponsored an exhibit of Kreković's Incan-inspired ethnographic art throughout the United States. On this tour Kreković insisted on being characterised as a "Croatian-born Peruvian artist" which resulted in protests from the embassy of Yugoslavia.
In 1965 he settled in Palma de Mallorca, where in 1977 he built the Museum of Palma de Mallorca with his works of art, now known as Museu Kreković (Collección Pintor Kreković). The Kreković Museum was officially opened in 1981 by Queen Sophia of Spain. Kreković died in his home in Mallorca in 1985.
Body of work
In addition to his extensive portrayal of Peruvian and Incan subjects, Kreković painted portraits of many ministers, statesmen, and outstanding persons, including:
- Mahatma Gandhi (1931)
- Queen Mary (in 1938; portrait kept in Buckingham palace)
- Royal Family of Spain (King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia)
- Royal Family of Sweden (in 1948)
- Queen Marie of Romania
- Zubrinic, Darko. "Croatian Art (1995)". croatianhistory.net. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
- "Museum Kreković – Biography of Kristian Kreković". conselldemallorca.net. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
- Zubrinic, Darko. "Croatian Art (1995)". citing Gaspar Sabater: Kristian Krekovic, el artista y su obra, Consell de Mallorca, Departement de Cultura, Museu Krekovic, 1990. The original quote is in Spanish: "El sentimient de Kristian Kreković hacia el mundo es único. Impregna todo su arte e impregna con extraordinario creatividad y constructivo carácter.". croatianhistory.net. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
- Official website (Museum & Private Collections)
- Kristian Krekovic, El Artista y su Obra (PDF)
- Kreković: a gallery of paintings, in Spanish and Croatian