U.S. CROATIAN NAIVE ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM
OPENING IN ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, U.S.A.
'TO HELP BRING SOME WELL-DESERVED RECOGNITION TO A FEW OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST ARTISTS BY OFFERING FRIENDS AND CUSTOMERS UNIQUE PAINTINGS THEY WILL LOVE WHILE HAVING FUN ALONG THE WAY.'
The major exhibition of 'The Fantastical World of Croatian Naive Art' was organized from February through June 2000, at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida by the director of the Museum Mr. Michael Milkovich. This show that was enjoyed by over sixty thousand visitors inspired two of those visitors, James and Donna Nannen, to open the Croatian Naive Art Gallery and Museum in St. Petersburg in June this year.
James and Donna Nannen at their home in St Petersburg
Their enthusiasm for this art form brought them many times to see the show, and they encouraged many friends to visit the
Museum and see the breath taking world of oil on glass painting which was created by peasants from Podravina. James said, that by being introduced to Croatian Naive Art, it helped him develop an appreciation for all arts. He fell in love with Croatian Naive Art immediately, and so did his wife Donna, who is an Art History graduate from Lake Erie College.
The Fantastical World of Croatian Naive Art show included the 'Ten Classic' artists of this art form:
Ivan Generalic, Mirko Virius, Emerik Fejes, Matija Skurjeni, Ivan Rabuzin, Dragan Gazi, Ivan Vecenaj, Mijo Kovacic, Ivan Lackovic Croata and Josip Generalic. Vecenaj's Moses and the Red Sea made a lasting impression on the Nannens who decided to start their own collection of Croatian Naives.
They traveled to Croatia two times, and met many naive artists there. When in Croatia, they would visit 6 - 7 artists per day, each time seeing something new and exciting. Their current collection includes over 45 artists. After meeting with Croatian artists in the artist's hometowns, James realized that this artwork and the artist's stories were so
important that they should be brought to the United States. Bringing this art to America became a passion for James. He felt compelled to tell this story to his countrymen and visiting tourists (yearly visit surpass 7,000,000 people in our area).
The U.S. Croatian Naive Gallery and Museum will be located directly across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is scheduled to open in June 2006. Information and art work may be seen at
James Nannen hopes that through the success of his gallery he will be able to acquire more artist's work and achieve
recognition for them in the United States. If all goes well, hopefully in just a few years, the gallery will be enlarged and museum
quality pieces will become part of the permanent collection. The museum will contain representative works of artists and will be
James and Donna are very enthusiastic people. We wish them the best in this endeavor and congratulate them for presenting
again 'The Fanatstical World of Croatian Naive Art' to the American public.
Frank (Zeljko) Beluhan