Naive Art

The term “naïve art” or “naïve artist” is usually applied to artists with no formal academic training, to self-taught artists, and in Slovenian sometimes called self-made artists (samorastniki). As a rule, naïve art is not equated with so-called primitive art, which refers to a specific technique or stylisation of visual forms in works by educated as well as amateur painters. By the same token naïve artists create without a working knowledge of the laws of visual syntax, proportion, perspective and other visual codes; in this sense, they are relaxed and unbound; and their lack of formal education is in fact a prerequisite for their contact with an elementary, primary mode of creative work.

The phenomenon of naïve art emerged in Yugoslavia long before the Second World War, when Croatian painter Krsto Hegedušić (1901–1975), the founder of the socially-committed group Zemlja, founded the so-called Hlebine school in the Croatian village of Hlebine on the Drava river, and recruited simple country folk and guided them in the basics of visual expression. Due to the socially-critical orientation of the Zemlja group, and probably also owing to the characteristically affable decoration and absence of ideologically problematic elements, naïve art became a popular Yugoslavian brand after 1945, an emblem of Yugoslavian art, so to speak, particularly in Germany. Because of the great interest in naïve artists, the cultural politics of the time actively encouraged the search for representatives of this school all over the country.

“Discovering Art” is an educational portal where you can discover interesting facts about art and museums of art.

The online portal Discovering Art is the collaborative effort of four institutions:

Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Fundació Antoni Tàpies from Barcelona, Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina and Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška from Slovenj Gradec.

The portal is part of the European project Performing the Museum.