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Alexander Dzigurski

(Serbian, 1911 – 1995) 

 

Alexander Dzigurski did not set up his easel on the Pacific Coast or in the Grand Tetons or any of the other majestic American locales for which he was famous until after his 38th birthday. As a boy he studied art courtesy of the Orthodox church. Consequently, many of his earlier works adorn the walls of Orthodox churches. His early career as a painter was going well. But then came the war. 

 

In 1943, after escaping with his young wife and daughter just prior to being sent to a German prison camp, Alexander posed as a housepainter while living with the Slovenian expatriate community in Vienna.

 

This painting may well be Dzigurski's quiet protest to the events of the War, as Mt. Triglav is located in the Alps, just south of the Austrian border and is the symbol of Slovenian strength and independence.

 

War caused extreme hardships on the Serbian people and Alex and his young family were no exception. He had to give up his prosperous portrait studio. His skill with a brush was was not to be hidden, and he was fortunate to supplement his house painting by restoring murals and doing some commissioned pieces. He welcomed this work, for it fed and protected his family until the end of the war.

 

In America, he initially occupied himself with ecclesiastical art, painting in Orthodox churches in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. By 1952, he vacationed in the West, and began painting landscapes. After his European beginnings and having survived the war, Alex was thrilled with his new life of freedom and opportunity. Many times he said that the majesty of the scenery he painted was a metaphor for the freedom he enjoyed.