logo web v3 2b

Portrait of Tonica. Juraj Plančić, 1923.
Self Portrait with Palette. Juraj Plančić, 1926.
Tonica, Alice and Juraj in Paris, 1929.
Nude with Fruit. Juraj Plančić, 1930.

 

 

Juraj Plančić, born in 1899 in Stari Grad on Hvar, was a legendary Croatian painter and also a protagonist of one of the most romantic stories in local history. Tonica Šoljan, his only love, was the daughter of a poor bell-ringer of the church of St. Stephan in Stari Grad. Tonica and Juraj's first meetings were quiet with gentle affection - for the first year they only exchanged wistful glances, never saying a word to each other. One day Tonica's friend noticed that love started to bloom amongst the two. She arranged a meeting with Juraj to let him know that Tonica’s father intends to marry Tonica to another, even though Tonica's heart belonged to Juraj. Upon learning of Tonica's love he decided to ask for her hand in marriage. Two days later, Juraj and Tonica met alone for the first time, falling in love with each other even more. Upon finding out about their meetings, Tonica's father forbade the two from seeing each other.
Tonica fell ill with grief, and scared of a fatal outcome, her father promised to accept their love if she would make it through the illness. After Tonica’s recovery their happiness grew, but there were more obstacles to overcome. They were briefly separated by war, and later when Juraj got accepted to the Academy of Art in Zagreb. Finally, Juraj was awarded a scholarship in Paris. Knowing that they never want to part again, their love was crowned by marriage on November 11th 1926. Although their beginnings in France were denoted by Tonica’s illness, poverty and doubt whether they did the right thing, their daughter Alice was born. Their happiness came to a tragic end on August 19th 1930 when Juraj died of tuberculosis at the age of 31. Devastated, Tonica returned to Croatia and never remarried again.