Antun Gojak

Antun Gojak was born in Makarska in 1907. He started showing interest for visual arts while he was attending Civic School in his hometown. In 1922, having finished Civic School he enrolled at the Teacher-training School in Šibenik where he developed his interest in painting and history of art. 

More about artist

He enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1927. He graduated in 1936 in Prof Marin Tartaglia’s class. He spent the period just before the WWII as a drawing teacher at high schools in Mostar and Slavonski Brod. He was recognized to be a talented artist at the anthological exhibition Half a Century of the Croatian Art, held in Zagreb in 1938.

The restless and insecure years of the WWII were crucial for his further life, and he returned permanently to his hometown by the end of the WWII and devoted exclusively to painting. He created in his own atelier and occasionally exhibited his works.

He was a member of the Association of Croatian Artists and he exhibited at group exhibitions.During his life he exhibited at seven solo exhibitions, among which particularly noted were those held in Split in 1964, in Sydney in 1975 and his last solo exhibition in Makarska in 1986.In 1986 he received the Award of what was then the Council of the Makarska Municipality. He died the same year.

Antun Gojak mostly painted works of homeland themes with recognizable motifs of landscape and everyday life of people living in Makarska and the Littoral. The changes in his art expression go from the academism to the dynamic expressiveness dominated by colour.A similar range of art expression is found in another great cycle within his opus. It is the case of the paintings created during the artist’s travels to the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Australia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Audience at the opening of Gojak's last exhibition in Makarska

About the building

The Antun Gojak Town Gallery is located in Makarska, in the building known as Stara škola (The Old School). The building is one of the most important 19th century constructions on the Makarska Littoral. It is under protection as an immovable cultural good of the Republic of Croatia.

Its construction began at the end of the 18th or at the beginning of the 19th century at the place of the bishop’s garden. Fabijan Blašković (1777 – 1819), the last residential bishop of the autonomous Makarska diocese, determined the building to function as a diocesan seminary.

The course of history wasn’t benevolent to the building  and its construction progressed slowly due to general weakening of the economic power of the town encouraged by the devastating plague epidemics in 1815, which swept away almost one third of the town population, as well as the famine that followed afterwards. The fate of the building was sealed, at least for some time, in 1828, when the autonomous Makarska diocese ceased to exist.

The building became the property of the seminary of Split and it remained unfinished. In 1877, it was sold on a public auction to Ivo Marija Vuković (1831 – 1910) , a prominent citizen of Makarska, who finished the construction in its present form in 1879.

However, the history showed its cruel side again – the newly finished building burnt to the ground the same year. In 1881, after a complete renovation, the building hosted the schools from Makarska, and was used for this purpose until 1984.

When the schools were moved into new buildings, Stara škola (The Old School) became an important  cultural, information, and educational centre of the city of Makarska. Today, the building hosts not only the Town Gallery, but also the Town Library, Music School and Makarska Rivijera radio station.

Everyday life according to Gojak

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