Tina Morpurgo 1907 1944

Tina Morpurgo was born in Split, Croatia, on March 6, 1907, to an old Jewish family stemming from Northern Italy, known by number of important Hebraists, poets and educators. Upon finishing high-school she entirely devoted herself to painting and in 1931, although only locally trained, held her first single exhibition showing over fifty works - oil paintings, temperas and drawings. Appearing already as a formed painter mainly exploring Adriatic coast landscapes in the vicinity of Split and still lives, she briefly continued the following year her artistic development in Trieste, Italy in the private school of Prof. Brill. Her landscapes showing the mountain Marjan, cypresses, pine-trees and the sea are painted with a lyrical realism in a heavy impasto. The still lives recall as well her immediate surroundings when showing crabs, lobsters and fish, but also her talent for composition and modeling when painting fruits and flowers. Morpurgo's self-portrait is especially interesting - in contrast to the lyricism of her other works, it is crude and primitive, showing raw energy.
Although planning to pursue her schooling in Munich, the young artists, due to the rise of Nazism and ensuing economic crisis felt in her family as well, remained in her hometown, and disillusioned, gradually stopped painting. In 1943, together with her parents, she was deported by the Ustashe to the Banjica camp in Belgrade, from where she was taken by the SS men on June 1, 1944 to their headquarters where she was murdered.
After the World War II her paintings, saved by the surviving members of the family and friends, were exhibited in the Jewish communities of Split (1974) and Belgrade (1974) and at the Jewish Historical Museum in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1975). Bibliography: Ante Petravich, "Prva izlozba slika gdjice Tine Morpurgo," (The First Exhibition of Paintings by Miss. Morpurgo), Zenski list, Split,1931, no. 6, p. 36; Kruno Prijatelj, "Splitska slikarica Tina Morpurgo," (A Woman Painter from Split Tina Morpurgo), Jevrejski pregled, Belgrade, 1960, no. 10¬11; Milica Mihajlovic, "Tina Morpurgo" foreword for the exhibition leaflet, The Jewish Historical Museum in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1975.
Illustrations:1. Landscape, oil, 1931-35, private collection; 2. Self-portrait, oil, 1935, private collection; 3. Still Life, oil, 1931-35, private collection; 4. Courtyard, oil on canvas, 1931-35, The Jewish Historical Museum, Belgrade, Serbia; Mirjam Rajner is a lecturer of modern and modern Jewish art at the Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and co-editor of Ars Judaica, Bar-Ilan Journal for Jewish Art. The text on Tina Morpurgo is part of a broader research dedicated to destinies and work of Jewish artists from former Yugoslavia, creating during the era of the Holocaust.


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