Biography

1934.

Vasilije Josip Jordan was born on March 1 in Zagreb to mother Franciska and father Martin from the neighboring Slovenia.

1946.

Enrolls in a music school in his hometown Zagreb, where he attends the violin section for two years.

1948.

Enrolls in the School of Applied Arts, graduating five years later.

1952.

Gets immensely inspired by the art of both Miljenko Stančić and Josip Vaništa at their exhibition in the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb.

1953.

Enrolls in the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, graduating in from professor Ljubo Babić’s class of 1958.

1956.

During his Italian study tour guided by professor Babić, he learns of masters Giotto and Guardi, and matures as a painter.

1958.

Meets the great painter Miljenko Stančić,and establishes friendship which will last until Stančić’s death in 1977.

1961.

An important year for Jordan. Apart from solo exhibiting at the Municipal Gallery of Contemporary Art in Zagreb and premiering his painting style, he also exhibits at the Serbian Association of Fine Artists salon in Belgrade as well as marries Dragica Cvek Jordan, his younger colleague.

1962.

Prepares his first solo exhibition in Split’s Museum of Fine Arts. Exhibits at the Association of Fine Artists’ exhibition salon in Novi Sad. Wins the 1st prize for painters at the 2nd Biennale of Young Artists in Rijeka. Exhibits at the Art Gallery in Dubrovnik (8 painters).

1963.

First solo exhibition abroad at the Galerie Aghte in Antwerp as well as at the Gallery of the Yugoslav People’s Army in Belgrade (Biffel – Jordan – Lesjak).

1964.

First solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, then in Belgrade at the Second Triennale of Fine Arts where he wins the second prize for painters, and finally at the Brussels Galerie de la Madelaine, Salon International de la Fantasmagie.

1965.

Moves into his atelier and home in Voćarska 76 with wife Dragica. Exhibits at the 1st Zagreb Salon. Wins the Purchase Award at the 8th International Art Biennale in São Paolo as well as the 5th International Biennale of Contemporary Art in San Marino and the Galerie Lambert (5 jeunes peintres d’Europe de l’Est).

1966.

Wins the ULUH (Eng. Croatian Association of Artists) award for painting at the Croatian Association of Artists’ salon. Participates in exhibitions in Stari Grad (Juraj Plančić Collection) and Rijeka (4th Young Biennale), Eisenstadt (Orangerie im Schlossgarten). Has a solo exhibition at the Galerie Lambert in Paris.

1967.

An extremely fruitful year for Jordan. Exhibits his works both at home and abroad: at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Art Gallery in Ljubljana, Modern Gallery in Zagreb, the 3rd Fine Arts Triennale in Belgrade, the 7th Alexandria Biennale for Mediterranean Countries, Gallery of the Yugoslav People’s army in Belgrade, Yugoslav Pavilion Expo ’67 in Montreal and again at Galerie Lambert for the youth exhibition in Paris.

“In my atelier, I count down my time whose flow I’m trying to draw out it in my paintings.”

– V.J. JORDAN

1969.

Exhibits in Brussels, Belgium at the Gallerie Isy Brachot that promotes surrealist aesthetics for which the Belgian cultural scene finds him interesting. He maintains the relationship with this gallery for more than a decade, and it establishes him as an artist throughout Europe. Participates in the 4th Zagreb Salon, in the Archigimnasio (Arte figurative zagabrese d’oggi) in Bologna, (Castrum Valis). Prepares a solo exhibition in the Art Gallery in Vinkovci.

1970.

Son Martin is born. Exhibits once more at the City Museum in Rovinj, in Bale (Castrum Valis), at the 5th Zagreb Salon, and at the Galerie Isy Brachot in Brussels.

1971.

Has first solo exhibition at the Galerie Isy Brachot in Brussels.

1972.

Exhibits again at the Gallery of the Yugoslav People’s Army followed by the Little Salon in Novi Sad (Dogan – Jordan), and twice in his hometown Zagreb – at the Art Pavilion (Surrealism and Croatian Fine Art) and at the Modern Gallery (a monographic exhibition).

1973.

Daughter Jelena is born. Exhibits at the 8th Zagreb Salon, and has his second solo exhibition organized by Galerie Isy Brachot in Knokke le Zoute.

1974.

Hosts his third solo exhibition at the Belgian Galerie Isy Brachot and afterwards shows his works at the Art Gallery in Dubrovnik, in the Yugoslav Contemporary Art exhibition.

1975.

Exhibits at the exposition venue of the Yugoslav People’s Army, and again at the Galerie Isy Brachot.

1976.

Exhibits with wife Dragica at the Art Gallery in Vinkovci, followed by his second solo exhibition at the Galerie des Grands Augustins in Paris. His fourth solo exhibition takes place at the Belgian gallery Galerie Isy Brachot in Knokke le Zoute.

1977.

Continues his long-term relationship with the Belgian Galerie Isy Brachot where he takes part in the Ars sans frontiers X. Also exhibits in Mainz at the Rathaus (Moderne Kunst in Kroatien), in Osijek at the Gallery of Fine Arts (Self-portrait in Croatian Contemporary Painting), in Zagreb at the Gallery Dubrava (Čular – Jordan), and in Belgrade at the Cvijeta Zuzorić Pavilion (Current Movements in Croatian Fine Arts).

1978.

Elected to the title of assistant professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. Simultaneously undertakes a fellowship in Paris. Exhibits with wife Dragica, but this time at the Belgian Galerie Isy Brachot.

1979.

Shows his work in Dubrovnik and Osijek (New Ways of Configuration, Still Life in Contemporary Croatian Painting), and exhibits solo in Zagreb at the Modern Gallery’s Josip Račić Studio. Once more participates in a show at the Belgian Galerie Isy Brachot again.

1980.

Partakes in three exhibitions: Yugoslav painting of the 1960s at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Ars sans frontiers XII at the Belgian Galerie Isy Brachot, and at the Galerie Stadthaus in St. Gallen.

“Generally, I’m considered a surrealist. This is due to external and superficial resemblance with such painting style…” “…the world I belong to could be signified by another constant of being, that being a new realism of poetic science fiction…”

– V.J. JORDAN

1981.

Exhibits at the Belgian Galerie Isy Brachot (Delvaux – Jordan), then in Osijek, at the Gallery of Fine Arts.

1982.

An extremely dynamic year for Jordan’s career. Shows his art at the Galerie Isy Brachot in Belgium, and at the Gallery Alfa in Split. Josip Depolo publishes JORDAN monography. Elected to the title of Associate Professor at the Academy of fine Arts in Zagreb. Jakov Sedlar films a 15-minute biography Jordan 82 scripted by Ado Kožul. Miro Mahečić authors a 10-minute film about the TV exhibition – Vasilije Jordan.

1983.

Exhibits at the Galerie Isy Brachot as well as at the Schira Gallery in Zagreb.

1984.

Exhibits at the German Galerie Buttenheim, at the Museum of Peasants’ Uprising in Donja Stubica, Modern Gallery in Dubrovnik, and at the official salon of the Gallery of Paintings in Varaždin.

1985.

Exhibits in Lausanne, at the 6th Dobrovnik Salon, as well as at the Schira Gallery in Zagreb,

1986.

A great year for Jordan who acquires a well-deserved reputation in the cultural scene of Italy after his Antologica di Jordan exhibition held at two Galleries in Padua, Civica galleria di Piazza Cavour and Galleria Selearte. These shows are followed by two exhibitions in Bologna at Palazzo Re Enzo and Palazzo Accursio. Jordan is praised both by the cultural audience and Italian art critics. Exhibits in Lausanne once more, at the Galerie Bellefontaine, in Ljubljana at the Ars Gallery, and in Opatija’s Juraj Šporer Pavilion.

1987.

Exhibits in Bologna again, at galleries Palazzo Re Renzo and Palazzo Accursio, in Zagreb at the Schira Gallery, Art Pavilion and Gallery Amadeo, in Split at Priska gallery, and in Rome at Don Chisciotte. For the first time ever, Jordan shows his work to Finland, in Punkaharju at the Retretti Art Centre.

1988.

Creates a print portfolio Perpetus Augustus – Hommage a August Šenoa compiled from a cycle of etched graphics of Tempora library, Biškupić Collection, Zagreb. Mirko Tomasović writes the foreword. Jordan exhibits his works in Milan at the Studio Steffanoni, in Valjevo at the Modern gallery, in Supetar at the Ivan Rendić Galllery, Museo Civico in Albano Terme, and at the Palace of Culture in Pučišća.

1989.

In the same year his monography is published, Jordan prepares several exhibitions at prestigious Italian galleries in Milan, Padua and Brescia (Gallery Selearte, Galeria il Segno Contemporaneo), and in Croatia’s Laval Gallery in Rijeka and Gallery Kraljević in Zagreb.

1990.

Exhibits twice in Italy – on the topic The oneiric, the fantastic, the surreal with Giorgio De Chirico in Venice at the Santo Stefano Gallery and at Civica galleria in Piove di Sacco. Also exhibits in Croatia, in Zagreb’s Galerija Mala.

1991.

Becomes the dean at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. Exhibits at the Art Gallery in Dubrovnik, Chapel of St. Dismas in Zagreb, Fine Arts Gallery in Osijek, and Gallery Kordić in Velika Gorica. Wins Vladimir Nazor, nationally respected annual award for his sacral cycle Corpus Christi.

1992.

Exhibits at the Studio D and Museum-Gallery Centre in Zagreb, as well as at the Galleria Pegaso in Viareggio.

1993.

Milan Bešlić films a 30-minute documentary JORDAN – The Other Side of Light for the Croatian Radio and Television. Frano Parać composes the soundtrack. Jordan exhibits his work at the Art Galerie Reich in Köln and again at the Museum-Gallery Centre in Zagreb, but this time at the exhibition Croatian Artists for the Demolished Churches in the Diocese of Trebinje.

“Vasilije Jordan is an authentic poet of visual memory...”

– GIORGIO SEGATO

1994.

Partakes in exhibitions at the Lamontov Salon in Kostanjevica ob Krki, Gallery Hest in Maribor, Gallery Doraart in Varaždin, Mimara Museum in Zagreb, and again at the Galeria Selearte in Padua and Art Gallery in Dubrovnik.

1995.

Co-founds the Academy of Fine Arts in Široki Brijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina with Stipo Sikirica and Miroslav Šutej with the help of Fra Vendelin Kovačić and Fra Jozo Pejić. He remains the Head of the Fine Arts Department for many years and later becomes the dean and the founder of the Ars sacra postgraduate study. Exhibits at the Galleria La Medusa in Čakovec, and at the Galleria Del Comune in Samoneta.

1996.

Exhibits at the Galeria Selearte in Padua, Gallery Višeslav in Nin, Art Gallery Kula in Split, the Home of HDLU in Zagreb, and at Klovićevi dvori Gallery in Zagreb.

1997.

Holds a solo exhibition at the Art Pavilion in Zagreb titled Jordan 1972-1997, at the Art Gallerie in Köln, in Dubrovnik at the 2nd Mediterranean Encounters where he receives the honorary award Ex Aequo. Also exhibits in Široki Brijeg at the Franciscan Monastery Gallery.

1998.

Displays his art in Bratislava at the Narodne osvetove centrum, in Maribor at the Ars Sacra Gallery, in Poreč at the gallery Kuća dva sveca, at Zagreb’s Mimara Museum, and at Posavina’s Museum in Brežice, Slovenia.

1999.

Together with Rudolf Labaš he creates “Harmica”, the ceremonial curtain for the Croatian National Theatre. Exhibits in Zagreb at Sobota and Grubić galleries, as well as at the Kula Gallery in Split. His first granddaughter Sonja is born.

2000.

Jordan retires from the Academy of fine Arts in Zagreb and prepares his big retrospective at the Milesi Palace, HAZU (eng. Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts). The catalogue, published by the Art Gallery Kula in Split, includes forewords by Stanko Špoljarić and Adriana Škunca. Exhibits at the Gallery Era in Novalja, and at the Branko Ružić Gallery in Slavonski Brod.

2001.

Exhibits at the Forum Gallery in Zagreb.

2003.

Exhibits at the Krapina City Gallery and the Vukovar Municipal Museum.

2004.

Accepts the role of a scenographer for Simon Boccanegra, Verdi’s opera directed by Petar Selem. Exhibits at the Canvas Gallery in Zagreb, at the Art gallery Kula in Split, and at the Centre L’Etrepot in Paris.

2005.

Exhibits with wife Dragica Cvek Jordan at the Franciscan Museum and Gallery in Široki Brijeg, as well as at the Vladimir Filakovac Gallery in Zagreb.

2006.

Exhibits again with his wife Dragica Cvek Jordan, this time at the Mona Lisa Gallery in Zagreb.

“Where the others would be too demonstrative or overly literary, Jordan knows how to keep his distance from a secret, from death or how to stop the time. The celebration will soon continue, and the characters will eventually speak: we shouldn’t exert pressure to haste this process with our own belligerence. Rarely has a painter of dreamlike illusion touched us this way, using such sophisticated and perpetually efficient means.”

– Alain Bosquet

2007.

Partakes in exhibitions at St. Krševan Gallery in Šibenik, Art Pavilion Juraj Šporer in Opatija, and Mona Lisa Gallery in Zagreb.

2008.

Shows his art at Stefan Röpke Gallery in Köln, Palace Milesi in Split and Mona Lisa Gallery in Zagreb.

2009.

The monography JORDAN, authored by Giorgio Segato and Milan Bešlić, is published by the AGM publishing in Zagreb. Jordan exhibits at the Shalom Community Centre and Gallery in Zagreb, and at the Capra Gallery in Supetar.

2010.

Exhibits at the Šimun Gallery in Dubrave (Permanent exhibition of Croatian fine arts of the 20th century). The Modern Gallery in Zagreb displays Vasilije Josip Jordan/Retrospective, Opus 1951-2010. Marko Ribić refers to the exhibition as the “end-of-the-year grand finale for art epicures”.

2011.

Exhibits at the Vladimir Becić Art Salon in Slavonski Brod.

2012.

Exhibits his works at the art gallery of the Croatian Cultural Centre in Čapljina.

2013.

The Modern Gallery in Zagreb showcases Jordan’s retrospective.

2018.

Gerd Lindner, the curator and manager of Panorama Museum in Bad Frankenhausen from the heart of Thuringia displays Jordan’s opus of about 90 works at an extensive retrospective exhibition which draws more than 10,000 visitors.

2019.

Passes away in Zagreb, at the age of 85.