IVO KERDIĆ (1881-1953) MEDALS AND PLAQUETTES FROM THE ZAGREB ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM This exhibition has been conceived to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the great Croatian scupltor and medallist Ivo Kerdić (b. Davor, 19th May 1881, d. Zagreb, 27th October 1953), to show the general public his medals from the Numismatic Collection of the Zagreb Archaeological Museum. There are c. 160 of them, but this number includes two or more specimens of same medal, variants of the same medal, cast or struck, badges, dies. They have been assembled starting with 1911, when Kerdić's first work was presented to this collection, until today. Some medals and plaquettes were either presented or sold to the Museum by the artist himself. One third of all works by Kerdić, exactly 56 items, as part of the large and unique collection of medals formed by the late Berislav Kopač (b. Sarajevo, 2nd October 1927, d. Zagreb, 18th January 2000) were unselfishly presented to the Museum by his widow Mrs Ana Kopač. During his long artistic career Kerdić made an enormous number of medals and plaquettes, in fact no one has yet made a complete list. His medallic oeuvre would be a very rewarding topic for a PhD thesis. His works preserved at the Zagreb Archaeological Museum give a good and impressive cross-section. There are many medals, from one of the earliest (1906) to the last one (succession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952) – one medal was even antedated and bears the year following the artist's death. This is an unsigned medal, modelled to mark the reopening of the Cultural Centre, in Petrinja in 1954. This medal was also part of the Kopač Collection. There are large, representative medals and plaquettes, in several variants, but there are also tiny medals and various badges, which are, judging from their inventiveness and execution in no way less important than the former and bear all the stylistic trademarks of their master. Some were signed with the artist's initials IK, or with a lime-tree leaf. They were struck either at Griebach and Knaus, T. Krivak, or some other firms in Zagreb, and also in Vienna and Bohemia. There are also some unsigned small medals for which we are still in some doubt who the author was. Such small pilgims' medals or societies' badges have mainly been neglected and almost never exhibited, not only for practical reasons (their size). At the Museum there are also a number of steel dies for medals and badges, either negatives, or positives. They have not been exhibited before, some of them were either presented or sold by Mr. Irislav Dolenec from Zagreb. Several early works by Kerdić can since 1977 be seen in the permanent numismatic exhibition of the Zagreb Archaeological Museum: the dentist and numismatist Adolf Müller (1910), the commemorative plaquette of the City of Zagreb (1912), Vera Pija Pilar (1906) and the Croatian Ball inVienna (1912). They are shown together with some other Croatian Art Nouveau medals by Rudolf Valdec, Robert Frangeš-Mihanović and Mila Wod. Twice already a selection of Croatian Art Nouveau medals, among them some more representative works by Kerdić, was exhibited in Italy (Arezzo, 1991 ; Torino, 1993). The range of medals by Kerdić at the Zagreb Archaeological Museum is very wide. Let us first mention the art plaquette « ; ; Song» ; ; (1910-1914), bearing all the stylistic marks of Art Nouveau. On medals Kerdić marked and followed many historical, social and less important events which happened in Croatia over almost fifty years, thus for instance: the Croatian Ball in Vienna (1912), the Sarajevo assassination (1914), the First World War (For Orphans and Invalids ; 1916), the unification of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918), the National Theatre in Prague (1918), the Petar Preradović centenary (1918), the Fourth International Congress of Architects in Zagreb (1930), the eightieth anniversary of the Chamber of Commerce, Crafts and Industry (1932), the Matrix of Croatian Theatre Amateurs (1935), the centenary of « ; ; Croatian Newspapers» ; ; (1935), the centenary of the Croatian national anthem (1935), the 700th anniversary of the Golden Bull of Zagreb (1942), etc. As the states, regimes and political systems alternated, it was always the case that some of Kerdić's works had to be forgotten. Thus some medals from the times of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy were discreetly laid aside after its destruction in 1918. After 1945 it was even dangerous to posses certain of his creations dating from period between the two world wars, and particularly some from the era of the Independent State of Croatia (1941-1945). For instance the portrait of the Croatian political leader Dr. Vladko Maček or Kerdić's models for the coins of the Independent State of Croatia Kerdić also modelled medals and badges for several societies: Petrinja, the ladies' handicrafts society (1908), the Croatian Craftsmen's Society (1911), the Craftsmen's Union (1913), the Croatian Mountaineering Society (1934), the Society « ; ; Brethren of the Croatian Dragon» ; ; (1936), the « ; ; Ban Jelačić» ; ; Humanitarian Society (1937), the Croatian Radiša Society etc. There are also several sports medals, as for instance the « ; ; Falcon» ; ; rallies in Zagreb (1911, 1925), Prague (1912) and Osijek (1921). The portait medals are a wide gallery of the artist's contemporaries of different professions and from different social strata. There are also portaits of important men of the past. Among the medals of the Zagreb Archaeological Museum Numismatic Collection are memorials to: the archaeologist Mihovil Abramić (1950), the archaeologist Antun Bauer (1947), the painter Vladimir Becić (1930), Leander Brozović, the founder of the museum at Koprivnica (1947), the archaeologist Josip Brunšmid (1924), the writer August Cesarec (1946), the painter Petar Dobrović (1921), the architect Hugo Ehrlich (1931), the writer Ksaver Šandor Gjalski (1927), the sportsman Josip Hanuš (1919), the archaeologist Viktor Hoffiller (1938), the ophtalmologist Kurt Hühn (1925), Miss Valeska Ludwig (1910), the lawyer and politician Dr. Vladko Maček (1938), the leading craftsmen Đ. Matić and M. Ramuščak (1933), the writer and art historian Andro Vid Mihičić (1951), the dentist and numismatist Adolf Müller (1910), Neda Pavelić (1916), Vera Pija Pilar-Jančiković, both as girls (1906), archbishop Alojzije Stepinac (1944), bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer (1920), the soprano Katica Sonntag and her husband, the architect Ivo Štefan (1931), the teacher Ivan Tomašić (1943), the actress Nina Vavra (1923). The plaquette bearing the striking profile of a charming Miss Valeska Ludwig was sometimes wrongly called the portrait of Mrs, or Countess Walewska from Napoleon's times. It was only from the variant of the plaquette from the Kopač Collection that the whole name of this young lady could be read. As an unusual, probably unique case, one must mention the Izidor Kršnjavi medal. This medal was commissioned in 1915 to mark the former culture minister's jubilee, but when the medal was struck, Kršnjavi refused to accept it and had the entire edition thrown into the Sava river. After a few years, a man going angling discovered a pile of corroded pewter medals on the bottom of the river. Many of these medals reached some belt-makers and collectors and after many years some were acquired by Berislav Kopač. One of them was presented by him to the Museum in 1994, the remainder by his widow in 2001. Among the master's friends were J. Brunšmid and V. Hoffiller, both directors of the Zagreb Archaeological Museum. When Brunšmid had to retire in 1924, his successor, V. Hoffiller commissioned Kedić to make a portrait of Brunšmid – one most not forget that both Kerdić and Hoffiller were both members of the Brethren of the Croatian Dragon. This jubilee medal bore an excellent portrait of the great archaologist and numismatist on be obverse and a beautiful reproduction of the Roman bronze statuette of Fortune from Vinkovci, on the reverse. Only the obverse was known to have existed, from a tiny picture reproduced in an article by Baron Bartol Zmajić, published in Numizmatičke vijesti. The reverse remained unknown for many years. Unfortunately this medal was not struck during Brunšmid's lifetime. Later, two fragments of the edge of the obverse plaster model and the damaged reverse were found in the Archaeological Museum – they were most probably victims of the transfer of the museum from the Academy Palace to the Vranyczany Hafner Mansion. Luckily Ana Adamec, then director of the Glyptotheque discovered an intact cast of the obverse, the reverse was repaired and finally both sides could be studied. In 1938 Viktor Hoffiller celebrated his sixtieth birthday, and to mark the occasion he asked Kerdić to make a medal. It was struck in silver and bronze, and there are also dies at the Museum, both the negative and the positive of the obverse and reverse at the Museum. On the obverse one can see Hoffille'rs portrait with no text at all, while the reverse has an inscription. Among the various saints' or pilgrimage medals let us mention those made for: the national shrine of Marija Bistrica, Our Lady of the Stone Gate in Zagreb (Majka Božja Kamenita), the parish church of St. Blaise, also in Zagreb, the Sacred Heart of Jesus/St. Mary Queen of the Croats, as well as the Eucharist congresses in Zagreb (1923, 1930). There must be more, therefore one ought to study all files, a list of his own works by Kerdić, as well as the plaster models, preserved at the Glyptotheque of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts. There are also some bronze casts of the coin medals Kerdić modelled for the Independent State of Croatia, also from the Kopač collection. As shown on the present exhibition, Kerdić's works have been exhibited in a chronological order. Several medals still need to be analyzed more closely and compared to the existing documentation. Kerdić's work has been studied by Ivo Uzorinac (at the International Numismatic Congress in London in 1936 he read a paper on Kerdić and also organized an exhibition of the artist's works), Miroslav Montani, and in the more recent years by Gjuro Krasnov, Vesna Mažuran-Subotić, Bogdan Mesinger, the present author, Matko Peić, Boris Prister and others, and particularly Vinko Zlamalik. He was also the initiator of the important triennale « ; ; Ivo Kerdić Memorial Exhibition» ; ; in Osijek amd Zagreb, which has for the last twenty-odd years been the major exhibition of medals and small sculpture in Croatia. During his student days in Paris and Vienna Ivo Kerdić perfected art of modelling and became a master of many techniques. He was able to engrave, emboss, cast, strike, reduce, retouch, patinate and enamel. In all this nobody could match him. Even his lettering was perfect as was his composition. The sources of his art are to be found in Greek and Roman art and he was also well acquainted with the great Italian medallists of the Renaissance. And of course, all the time he closely observed what was going on in the art of medal both at home and abroad. His early medals clearly show the influence of the French Art Nouveau and the Austrian Sezession. After the First World War his style changed. Some medals and plaquettes are true examples of art déco, but most of Kerdić's medals remain timeless. Like some of his statuettes, particularly the beautiful « ; ; Goldsmith's Gold» ; ; , some of his plaquettes and medals – just as those by Valdec and Frangeš-Mihanović - can still frequently be seen in the homes of old Zagreb families. The popularity of his works is witnessed by the fact that several of them have been reworked even after his death. Much help in dating and identification of some of Kerdić's medals has been offered by Vesna Mažuran-Subotić of the Glyptotheque of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts, and Boris Prister of the Croatian Historical Museum to whom the author wishes to express his thanks.