Yugoslav painter, theatrical designer, and graphic artist, born in Petrinja in Croatia. He studied at the Academy in Zagreb, 1920–26, and then in Paris, 1926–8. On his return to Yugoslavia he became the artistic and ideological leader of the group Zemlja (Earth), founded in 1929 and banned in 1935, which promoted an art of revolutionary social protest. He believed that the worn-out academicism of the day could be revitalized by direct contact with peasant life and with the genuine folk art of the people.
In pursuit of this aim he was chiefly responsible for founding a school for peasant painters in the village of *Hlebine (where he had grown up) and for fostering the talent of Ivan *Generalić, the greatest of the Yugoslav *naive painters. His own painting had affinities with the *Neue Sachlichkeit of *Dix and *Grosz, with *Surrealism, and with the famous peasant scenes of the 16th-century Netherlandish painter Pieter Bruegel, but essentially his work is an expression of his deeply committed social conscience. A typical example is A Fair at Koprivnica (1930, Tate). Between 1931 and 1941 Hegedušić was arrested a number of times for left-wing political activities and he was interned during the German occupation in the Second World War. From 1936 he taught at the Zagreb Academy and was appointed a professor there in 1945.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)