Satin Jozef /1913 – 1956/

Who had the possibiliy to observe the behaviour of children from a large family...

j. satin

Who had the possibiliy to observe the behaviour of children from a large family he should have noticed that it is characterized by an extraordinary unity, strong bond and the care of the older siblings of the younger ones. In this way the sense of responsibility and individuality is created and the youngest children are usually protected by everyone. Such a relationship was present also in the family of Jozef and Jana Satin who had together 24 children. Some of them died at an early age, but Jana Satin, the mother, gave birth to all of them. Jozef was the 13th child. He was born on January 9, 1913 in Nitra, in the Priehradná Str. in the Old Town.

He completed his elementary and secondary school education in Nitra. From the early childhood he showed talent for drawing and developed it during the secondary school. He admired the panorama of Nitra, the upper town below the Nitra castle, the Zobor nature. He studied during his early artistic years and completed his education under guidance of masters of church painting – Papp and Petrikovič. His gift was soon noticed by the excellent Nitra artitst, graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, the student of French impressionist painter Claude Monet, also gradute form the Académie Julien in Paris, Maximilián Schurmann who established in 1930s a private school for painting in Nitra. He definitely influenced Jozef Satin´s drawing and painting style based on the realistic depiction of portraits as well as the landscape sceneries.

At the age of 20 he presented his artwork to the public for the first time at a very special occasion. In 1933 within the magnificent Pribina celebrations commemorating the 1100th christening of Pribina by the Salzburg´s archbishop Adalram in the Austrian town Traismauer. At this important historical and cultural spectacle Satin´s work impressed many. The honourable diploma and some of the sold paintings encouraged young Satin to create more intensively and he didn´t stop even during his service in the army. In the barracks he was drawing at the candle light in the time, when the others rested. In 1937 he left for Prague to study at the Academy of Fine arts led by Prof. Otakar Nejedlý. In the upset year 1939 he left Prague and continued his studies as a scholarship awardee at the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts in Rome. During his studies he carried out study trips to Greece, Yugoslavia and Albania. In Rome – in the city of ancient culture and arts – he found intensive artistic experiences and inspiration for his works: St. Peter’s Basilica, countryside around the Rome, view of ancient ruins in Fora Romana, Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, ruins of Apollo temple, Via Appia antica, Campagna Romana, Dalmatia region etc.. During holiday he used to come back to his hometown and painted all over the Slovakia, as he was inspired by the rich folklore and beautiful nature. He painted portraits of girls, old men, the majesty of Tatras, southern Slovakia flatlands, historical buildings. His most famous works ´The View of Nitra´, ´Gipsy Settlement in Bošáca´, ´The Singing Children by the River Heľpa´, ´St. Jacob´s Square in Bratislava´, ´Tower Panorama in Trnava´, ´The View of the Trenčín Castle´, ´Cottages in Terchová´, ´Sluice in Vrátna Dolina´ etc.. Hundreds of these works are hled mainly in private collections now. His paintings were admired by art lovers in many places, e.g. Bratislava,Prague, Banská Bystrica, Nitra, Trenčianske Teplice.

After graduation in Rome he married Marianna, an American Slovak and they moved to Cleveland, Canada. He brought many works with him there and exhibited them in New York in the same year. He and his wife got slowly adapted to the new and foreign environment. At the beginning they made their living by selling the pieces which had not been sold at the exhibitions. But he didn’t give up and worked hard and traveled a lot. In Cleveland, in the city with a big Slovak community, he organized an exhibition in 1951. There were about 90 paintings amongst which were exhibited those with motifs of Slovak dominants – such as Tatras, Nitra castle, Orava castle, but he also included works from his new home – such as Colorado River, Miami Beach and other. In 1956 Satin got a commission to paint St. Cyril and Methodius church in Hamilton. When he finished the silhouette of Nitra’s Cathedral and Pribina’s Church he began to paint the figural composition of the Saints. On March 29, 1956 after a week of hardn work he was looking forward to coming back home to Cleveland. But he accidentally fell off the scaffold and suffered a fatal injury.

Beyond the borders of his native country, Jozef Satin, the Slovak painter born in Nitra, spread and represented the Slovak painter’s school. He is buried in Cleveland. In 2011 we commemorated the 55th anniversary of his death.