06. March 2010

Photo Gallery Lang, Samobor

Ivana Tomljenović Meller

E. Toller at Bauhaus, 1930


The notion of the BAUHAUS School of Design, founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 in Weimar and superbly functioning until the 1933 when Nazis gained the power in Germany, has been imbedded in the fundaments of modern and contemporary art of the XX century. The school was in 1996 moved to Dessau, and in 1932 its seat was in Berlin just to be closed by the Nazis on August, 10 1933.

Ivana Tomljenović (later Meller-Tomljenović) has joined Bauhaus in Dessau in the autumn of 1929. According to the curriculum she has attended the Introductory Course of Joseph Albers. After the successful graduation Tomljenović has entered the Photography Department under Walter Peterhans, where students have been introduced to the principles of then new and modern photography and contemporary visual culture.

The photography Tomljenović has made while at Bauhaus demonstrate all the features of the new sensitivity and visual culture: vertical perspective, lower angle, occasionally bizarre themes, light-shadow contrasts, double exposition, experimenting with negatives and photomontages. Furthermore, with her camera Tomljenović has captured dynamic and enthusiastic atmosphere of Dessau’s Bauhaus. Her photographs present everyday life of the Bauhaus students, her friends and acquaintances, but also unquestionable orientation towards the new aesthetics of the photographic image. Her photomontage “Diktatur in Jugoslawien” from early 30-ties is excellent example of the new aesthetics and formal solutions applied at the Bauhaus of those years.

Thanks to the collection and efforts of Marinko Sudac, Photo-gallery Lang was able to present this small but significant oeuvre by Ivana Tomljenović.


Ivana Meller Tomljenović (Zagreb, 1906 – Zagreb, 1988). From 1924 to 1929 Tomljenovic has studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. After the graduation Tomljenović has traveled to  Vienna and in 1929 has entered Introductory Course  at Bauhaus, Dessau. As stduent of bauhaus she has executed a number of posters and, among others, notorious photomontage “The Dictatorship of Yugoslavia” that was used for the cover of the homonymous publication edited for the propaganda exhibition of then illegal Communist Party of Yugoslavia in Berlin.  During the autumn of 1935 Tomljenović has returned to Belgrade and from 1938 till 1988 in Zagreb. Her Bauhaus photographs are in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb and Marinko Sudac Collection.