Gallery Ružić and Contemporaries
“Gallery Ružić in Slavonski Brod is a donation of Branko and Julija Ružić. It is a gift to a city that suffered a lot [during the war of Croatian independence in the 1990s]. It is the place where I was born and where my wife spent a part of her childhood and education.”
Branko Ružić, 1994.
Gallery Ružić and Contemporaries is situated at the “Fortress Brod” in the city of Slavonski Brod. As one of the best preserved Croatian fortifications from the 18th century, the fortress has become a part of the architectural heritage of the country and enjoys a protected status. The Gallery occupies the west wing of the “cavalier” – a building originally used as army lodgings, as well as for the storage and making of weapons and ammunition.
Talks about the founding of the Gallery Ružić in Slavonski Brod began in the late 1980s. The donation of several hundred of Ružić’s works was originally planned for installment in the house of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić in the city center. A ceremonial signing of the contract concerning the donation of Branko and Julija Ružić to the city of Slavonski Brod was held on the 28th of October 1993. The following year Ružić declared that he would expand the donation to include not only his own works, but also those of a number of “first-rate living Croatian artists”. That list included some of the most important contemporary artists in Croatia at the time, such as Dušan Džamonja, Vojin Bakić, Ivan Kožarić, Edo Murtić, and Vlasta Delimar.
After the city of Slavonski Brod took over the management of the fortress in 1994, it was decided to place the gallery there. A multi-year renovation project of the part of the fortress that was to host the donated collection started in 1998, and the Gallery Ružić and Contemporaries was ceremonially opened on the 15th of June 2004. In the meantime, the “Gallery of Artworks of the City of Slavonski Brod” was founded, and the Gallery Ružić and Contemporaries, with its 331 works of Branko Ružić and 201 works of his contemporaries, be-came part of that institution.
The collection of Ružić’s artworks is a comprehensive representation of his oeuvre; it includes his paintings and sculptures, all stages of his professional activity and all the materials of his artistic expression. The exhibition that stretches over 1800 square meters was designed by Mladen Pejaković, a longtime friend of Ružić and the artist’s own choice for many of his exhibitions—he was also one of the most informed connoisseurs of Ružić’s work. Ružić unfortunately didn’t live to see the opening of the gallery; he passed away towards the end of 1997.
Gallery Ružić and Contemporaries is a unique collection of contemporary Croatian art of the second half of the 20th century; as such, it has an extremely important place on the cultural map of Croatia.
Information about opening hours of Gallery Ružić and Contemporaries can be found via the WEBSITE of the Gallery of Artworks of the City of Slavonski Brod.
Ivanka Bunčić; Željka Perković; Predrag Goll; Romana Tekić (autori tekstova), Galerija Ružić: Branko Ružić i suvremenici, Slavonski Brod: Galerija umjetnina grada Slavonskog Broda, 2007.