By Christian Franzen
Oton Gliha was born in Slovenia on May 21st, 1914. His family moved back to their home country of Croatia in 1915, where they moved from place to place. They finally settled in the town of Zagreb in 1924. There, Gliha completed high school in 1933 and then began instruction at the Academy of Fine Arts.
In the Academy, Gliha primarily focused on painting landscapes and portraits. During these years he became very influenced by his love for the French painter Cézanne and frequently used thick layers of paint to depict his forms.
After graduating in 1937, Gliha participated in his first group exhibition in the city of Zagreb. He continually focused on painting landscapes, portraits, and a variety of still lives up until the early 1950's. In 1954, he painted Primorje , which depicted the coastal landscape of the island of Krk in Croatia. Unlike his previous works, Gliha painted Primojre in an abstracted manor due to the increasing popularity of abstraction sweeping through Europe. This painting became the first in a series of abstract works focusing on the landscape of the island of Krk. He had his first solo show in 1954 presenting the series and it was a huge success. Ghila became so obsessed with the subject of the island of Krk that he pursued it for the rest of his life until he died in 1999.