Biography of Zoran Music

From the collected works “Zoran Music” by Siegbert Metelko and Charlotte Hug. Supplemented by Siegbert Metelko in 2019.



Anton Zoran Music was born on February 12th in Bukovica, at the foot of the karst plateau near the town of Gorizia / Gorizia / Gorica, which belongs to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They speak three languages ​​fluently: Italian, Slovenian and German. His father is the director of the local school, his mother a teacher. The grandparents are wine growers in the Collio on the Italian border.


Music travels the region with his parents to visit relatives: he discovers
Capo d’Istria, Trieste, the lagoons of Grado and Caorle, Udine and, farther away, in the clear light of the setting sun, one could foresee Venice. Although very close, Venice belonged to another world. “I wondered if I would come there one day,” Music recalls.


During the war years, his father is at the front. Music lives with his mother and brother in a village in Styria. After the end of the war, his father goes to Griffen in Carinthia, where his father works as a teacher. Zoran attends the secondary school in Völkermarkt and completes his schooling in Maribor (Exam 1923). Before enrolling at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, he spent a short time in Vienna, where he familiarized himself with the world of theater and literature. He first encounters painting with Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. A little later he discovers the French impressionists in Prague.


In Zagreb, Music attends the lectures of Babic, a well-known Croatian painter, who introduces him to Spanish painting. He is passionate about Goya. During his holidays in Dalmatia music begins to draw. After completing his studies, Music goes to Spain and spends whole days in the Prado, where he copies Goya and El Greco.


When the civil war breaks out, Music leaves Spain and heads for Dalmatia in the karst, whose landscape will play a special role in his painting. “The karst is the matrix of my painting,” Music said again and again. In 1941 he exhibited in Zagreb, in 1943 in Trieste, where he met Guido Cadorin. And in the same year in Venice, where he exhibits Dalmatian motifs and Venice in the Piccola Galleria. The gallery is publishing a monograph on this occasion. Music is accused of collaborating with anti-Nazi groups and arrested by the Germans. First he is taken to Trieste, then deported to Dachau. “The eyes of the dying always accompany me, even today,” recalls Music. “Like hundreds of glowing sparks, they chased me when I had to climb over them to clear my way. Shining eyes begged me, who I could still walk, silently for help. “


In April, the Americans liberate the nazi camps. Music’s health is under attack. He goes first to Gorizia, then to Venice, where he finds Cadorin and his family again. Cadorin’s daughter Ida studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and lends him her studio. There he paints the first self-portraits and the horses. Then he starts a watercolor series in the Zattere and in San Marco. “I experienced particularly happy days in the Zattere. If only these watercolors could be the first drops from a source. “


From 1948 on he participated several times in the Venice Biennale (1950, 1954, 1956, 1982 and 1985), was already represented in 1955 with his work at the documenta I in Kassel, as well as at the second and sixth documenta (1959, 1977) and is exhibited and honored numerous times internationally. In the late 1940s, an exhibition of two paintings follows at the International Biennale in Venice: Asinelli and Paesaggio umbro. First contact with the Galleria L’Obeslico in Rome and with great collectors, Salome and Eric Estorick and Patti Cadby Birch. A trip through Tuscany to the area of ​​Siena arouses Music’s interest. The series of Sienese landscapes begins with sketches from the windows of a train. In 1949 he marries Ida Cadorin and makes his first drypoint etchings in Venice, which he prints himself.
The Italian Cultural Center Paris organizes the Prix Paris in Cortina. The prize consists of a personal exhibition at the Galerie de France in Paris and the publication of a monograph. Music receives the “Prix de peinture”.


In the early 1950s, Music moved with his wife to Paris, where he was signed by the renowned Galerie de France.




Music lives and works in Paris and Venice. In summer, he draws on the lagoon near Chioggia. For the first time he exhibited in New York in the gallery Cadby Birch. In 1951 he makes his first etchings and exhibits in London. His personal exhibition by Giuseppe Marchiori will be presented at the Venice Quadrennial. René de Solier, with whom he has a deep friendship, writes the foreword to the monograph published by the Galleria L’Obeslico in Rome.


In the mid-1950s, Mušič defined the landscape, including the image protagonists, as ornamental fabric in his colorful works. Soon he dares to take a step into abstraction.

At the Venice International Biennale Music receives the Grand Prix of Graphics. In 1957 he returned to Dalmatia for the first time after the war. He paints his most abstract works there: shadow plays on the rocks of Dalmatian landscapes, exhibited in 1958 in the Galerie de France in Paris.


At the Biennale of Graphic Art in Ljubljana he presents a personal exhibition. He receives the Unesco prize at the Venice Biennale.
Zoran Music in Cortina d‘Ampezzo in the Dolomiten, circa 1965.


From now on, he spends the summer in Cortina, where he draws. Bruno Lorenzelli, a great dealer of old and modern art, buys a collection of Music’s works, which he exhibits in his gallery in Milan.


Published the catalog of the graphic work from 1947 to 1961 on the occasion of the retrospective of the Museum of Brunswick.


Hans-Peter Landolt buys for him at the Kunsthaus Basel twenty-six drawings from 1945, including ten from Dachau. A little later, Jean Clair discovers the series of drawings made by Music in Dachau, as part of an exhibition of drawings from the Museum Collection in the Kunsthalle Basel. “Was it possible that Music witnessed this terrible atrocity and that he faithfully transferred it to these pages, and then immediately broke away from them, as if they had never been there and in the future only Dalmatian landscapes or views of the To paint lagoon of Venice, with such a fragile harmony, and sometimes so dreadful? Was that the price of this disruption? “He wrote.


The indelible trauma of the concentration camp experience, the painter processed from 1970 in the picture cycle “We are not the last.”

A memory of the inferno of the Dachau concentration camp over the years, repressed, even sublimated, was recalled by the Vietnam War. The corpses, which haunted him in nightmares over the years, which had partially announced themselves latently in landscapes, now returned to his consciousness in full force.

Exhibition of some pictures of the cycle We are not the last in the gallery de France. The music monograph by Jean Grenier appears in the collection of the Musée de poche.


We are not the last


The exhibition We Are Not the Last is repeated in Munich at the Haus der Kunst, in Brussels at the Palais des Beaux-Arts and in the Museum of Trier. Numerous paintings come in public collections. In Paris, the Center Georges Pompidou, the Musée d’Art Moderne of the City of Paris and the museums of Paris, Jerusalem, Venice, Copenhagen, Oslo, Hovikodden, etc.


Music is exhibited for the first time in a Parisian museum, on the occasion of Jacques Lassaigne’s retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. In Ravenna he creates a 30-square-meter mosaic for the courtyard of the Hilton Hotel. In the south of France he draws cork oaks. This is the beginning of his series of
Plant motifs. In 1974, Giuseppe Mazzariol dedicates a personal exhibition in Venice to him in the Querini Stampalia Foundation.


Great retrospective in the Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt. The Museum of Basel hosts an exhibition of a dozen pictures from the period 1947-1951, as well as a major exhibition of the Sonia Henie-Niels Onstad Foundation in Hovikodden.


Publication of the music monograph by Giuseppe Mazzariol and retrospective in the galleries of the Accademia in Venice.


Series Canale della Giudecca and Punta della Dogana. Music is named “Commandeur des Arts et Lettres” in Paris. Patti Cadby Birch buys twenty pictures of the series We are not the last ones as the foundation for a foundation.


Exhibition in the gallery Claude Bernard in Paris. Beginning of the cycle Interno di cattedrale. “Already in 1943 I was fascinated by the interior of San Marco in Venice. I made some sketches. Recently I resumed the motive and tried to recreate the deep silence, the mood of the cathedrals and their magnificent appearance. From the almost total darkness that surrounds us as we enter, vaguely illuminated forms gradually dissolve, “recalls Music.

The Venice Biennale devotes music to a hall. The well-known art enthusiast Sergio Grandini creates an album with twenty-six drawings of music, published by Giulio Topi in Lugano.


Retrospective at the Museum Jenisch in Vevey and the Museum of Bellinzona. Personal exhibition in the Galerie Welz in Salzburg. Series of self-portraits. First exhibitions in the gallery Contini in Mestre and Asiago. Exhibition of works on paper in the Center Georges Pompidou. Personal exhibition in the gallery Bergamini in Milan. Music produces the night views of Paris, Citta, and begins a new cycle: self-portraits and ateliers exhibited in the Galerie Krugier-Ditesheim Art Contemporain in Geneva.


Touring exhibition: Klagenfurt (A) – Ljubljana (SLO) – Zagreb (HR). (Organization and selection Siegbert Metelko) A comprehensive catalog appears.


Music is appointed Officer of the Legion of Honor and continues the cycle of great images while working intensively on drawings and pastel paintings.


Exhibition in the Graphic Collection Albertina, Vienna (AT, organization and selection Siegbert Metelko). An extensive catalog appears. Galleria Contini, Cortina (I).


A meeting in Vienna: Friedensreich Hundertwasser, his second wife Yuko Ikewada and Zoran Music.


Exhibition at the Bancaixa Cultural Center in Valencia. Exhibition in the gallery Contini in Venice.


We are not the last, exhibition at the Museum Goupil in Bordeaux. Great retrospective at the Grand Palais, RMN, Paris. Musee des Beaux-Arts in Caen: Le Temps des Ténèbres, Zoran Music, Miklos Bokor. Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, Munich: Zoran Music, The late years. Catholic Academy in Bavaria, Munich: We are not the last. Musée Picasso, Antibes: Zoran Music, An Art of Meta-Memory ».


Exhibition in the Gallery Jorge Mara in Madrid.


Morwan Hoss Gallery, Paris: Zoran Music, Corps et Visages. Exhibition in the Schirn-Kunsthalle in Frankfurt.


Exhibition Gli acquerelli veneziani, 1947-1949, in the Museum Morandi, Bologna. Exhibition Inchiostri in the gallery Contini in Venice-Mestre.


Exhibition at Kunsthaus Klosterneuburg, Essl Collection. Museum Morandi, Bologna: La donazione Zoran Music. Exhibition at Morwan Hoss Gallery, Paris: Une vie, deux oeuvres. Exhibition in Bilbao, Foundation Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa, Zoran Music, Ultima Obra. Vienna, Galerie Chobot, Zoran Music, paper works. Braunschweig, Gallery Schmücking, Zoran Music, paintings, watercolors, gouaches, drawings and graphics. Ljubljana, Moderna Galerija, exhibition for the 90th birthday of Zoran Music.


Museum Cognac-Jay, Paris: Venice in the work of Zoran Musics. Norwich, Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Zoran Music. London, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, Zoran Music. Cologne, Galerie Stefan Röpke, Zoran Music, May 5 – June 3.


Geneva, Gallery Jan Krugier, Ditesheim & Cie, Zoran Music, works from 1947 to 2001. Music Foundation at the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM), Valencia. Trieste, Galleria Torbandena, Zoran Music We are not the last, works on canvas and paper.


New York, The Jewish Museum, An Artist Response to Evil, “We Are Not the Last,” The Everett B. Birch Foundation, March-June.


Gorizia, Musei Provinciali, Palazzo Attems, Music. Exhibition at the Museum of Marseilles, We are not the last (paintings 1970-1989, photographs). Museum Jenisch, Vevey, Zoran Music, Retrospective.


On May 25, 2005, Zoran Mušič dies in the Palazzo Balbi Valier on Dorsoduro in Venice and is buried in the cemetery island of San Michele.



Gorizia, Biblioteca Statale Isontina, Music, Piccole Carte (150 reproductions). Exhibition in the gallery Torbandena, Trieste, Zoran Music, operas scelte (paintings, drawings, graphics).


Venice, Gallery A + A, Zoran Music. Museum Morandi, Dal buio, Ricordo of Zoran Music (paintings, drawings, prints). Gallery Zala, Ljubljana, Zoran Music (44 reproductions). Schloss Gottorf Schleswig, Music from the collection Grosshaus (drawings, watercolors, graphics).


Dozza, Bologna, Rocca Sforzesca, exhibition of works on paper


Exhibition in Barcelona, ​​Fundacio Caixa Catalunya, La Pedrera, Zoran Music, De Dachau a Venecia. (125 works: paintings, drawings 1935-2001). Zala Gallery, Ljubljana, Zoran Music (72 works: engravings, lithographs).


To mark the centenary of his 100th birthday, several exhibitions will be shown in Ljubljana, Slovenia (Zala Gallery, National Gallery of Slovenia and TR3 Gallery). In addition, a number of brochures, books and catalogs are published (see also bibliography, monograph).

Venezia, Palazzo Franchetti, Zoran Music. Estreme figure Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti.


Legnano, Palazzo Leone da Perego, publication: “Se questo è un uomo”.

Venezia, Madonna dell’Orto (Cannaregio)


Neuchatel, Dietesheim & Maffei Fine Art, Homage to Zoran Music 23.4.-18.6.2018


Milano, Gallery Lorenzelli Arte, 25.1.2018-10.3.2018

Bologna, Galleria d`arte Maggiore, 18.11. 2017-15.11.2018

Vienna, Leopold Museum 12.4.-10.8.2018: “ZORAN MUŠIČ Poetry of Silence. On the basis of more than 160 loans from several international collections, all the creative phases of the silent loner are presented. The exhibition is also a contribution of the Leopold Museum to the commemorative year 2018. In memory of the momentous events about 80 years ago Ida Cadorin Barbarigo, who died at the age of 92 Painter and wife of the artist, generously presented a few months before her death on January 15, 2018 several outstanding paintings from her possession – the studio Zoran Mušič – for the exhibition in the Leopold Museum.

Venice, Palazzo Fortuny Exhibition From 24 March to 23 July 2018 The exhibition presents works by Zoran Music, in the center of which, after a long period of preparation, the space from the Villa Dornacher in Zollikon, created between 1947 and 1950 by Zoran Music, is finally and for the first time publicly visited can.

Venezia, Galerie BORDAS, 25. March to 9.Maggio 2018, Grafica originale-Libri illustrari.


Vienna, W & K Palais Schönborn-Batthyány, W & K and Gallery Magnet Zoran Music – Painting | Joannis Avramidis – Sculpture, May 22 – September 13, 2019, catalog “Fascination of Painting, Gallery Magnet, curated by Siegbert Metelko

Ljubljana, Gallery Novak, 24.0kt. – 9.Nov.2019, Zoran Music, oil paintings and works on paper from Slovenian, Italian, Swiss and Austrian collections, catalog with illustrations.