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Bihalji Merin, Oto

BIHALJI MERIN, OTO

BIHALJI MERIN, OTO (1904–1990), Yugoslav writer and art historian. He studied painting in Belgrade and Berlin. While his approach to modern art was pan-European, his politics were of the extreme left wing. In Berlin he edited a Communist daily and later he fought in the Spanish Civil War and reported on it. In 1929, he founded the Belgrade progressive publishing house "Nolit," with his brother Pavle Bihalji, who was shot by the Nazis in 1941. Bihalji Merin was taken prisoner by the Germans (1941–45) and became one of the leaders of the Yugoslav resistance in prisoner-of-war camps. In 1945 he returned to Belgrade and with his wife successfully resumed his publishing career. He edited the house magazine and monographs of the publishing firm "Jugoslavija," one of whose notable editions was the *Haggadah of Sarajevo. An authority on naive art, he helped to keep Yugoslav thinking in touch with new trends. Many of his works have been translated into major languages, the more important being: Modern German Art (1938), Das naive Bild der Welt (1959; Modern Primitives: Masters of Naive Painting, 1961), Umetnost naivnih u Jugoslaviji (1963), and Adventure of Modern Art (1968). He also wrote two satirical novels on Yugoslavian life.

[Zdenko Lowenthal]

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