Vilim Svečnjak was born on July 12, 1906 in Zagreb. He received his initial painting education from Zlatko Šulentić at Zagreb High School; then he enrolled in the Art Academy Sculpture at Rudolf Valdec and Frano Kršinić, yet graduating from Painting at Professors Maksimilijan Vanka, Vladimir Becić, Tomislav Krizman and Ljubo Babić. During his scholarship in Paris in 1934, he participated at exhibitions in Zagreb and Sofia with the Zemlja Group. Up to World War II, Svečnjak's work was characterized by pronounced social issues and social criticism expressed through expressionist vocabulary of virtuoso drawing and temperament color sensitivity. Svečnjak's opus could have been well defined as early as those years, having developed with time through interlacing and linking of distinct, integral cycles. At the beginning of the 1930s, it was the Mitrovica cycle, then the cycles from Braila at the Black Sea, to be followed by Petrica Kerempuh Ballads, and by engaged expressionism overlapping with Intimism of Bonnard's colorism at the beginning of the 1940s. The end of World War II found Svečnjak in Rijeka, where he founded the present Modern Gallery in 1949. He moved back to Zagreb in 1951. Vilim Svečnjak resolved the general post-war dilemma by turning back to the expressionist roots with his Macedonian cycle in 1948, to be followed by ten-year experimentation with the elements of NeoCubism and Rouaultism. In the 1960s, Svečnjak's work reflected his adoption of the recent nonfigural creativity, especially through the liberation and individualization of his works and palette in landscape perspective. A whole series of his paintings could be interpreted by his approaching the poetry of Surrealism, while at the same time definitely recognizing his choice of landscape painting. His cycles from Bol, Krapina, Zagorje or Zagreb intertwine like caesurae with portraits, still lifes or nudes. During these last few productive years, Svečnjak displayed himself as a traditional artist with firm belief in superior métier and poetry of expressionism, with special love of motif painting. During the 1970s, there was a general tendency of the art focusing on itself and its fundamentals, the primary issues of the art work. For Svečnjak, it was the poetics of quality paintings according to the old, métier criteria, yet implying the sensitivity of new freedoms and never extinguished sense for coloristic wealth of pure color expression and enviable harmony. Vilim Svečnjak was a painter in the traditional and full sense of the word and vocation. He has left behind a hardly surveyable opus of paintings, drawings, graphics, ceramics and applied layouts. He was engaged in painting, drawing, tapestry, consumer goods design, graphic design; he was graphic editor of Encyclopedia, stage designer, museologist and reviewer. Svečnjak was elected member of the Academy of Science and Arts in 1988. In 1990, he donated two art ensembles to the City of Zagreb: the Zemlja Collection with 280 early graphics, drawings and paintings of social topics, and 562 works for the establishment of the Marta and Vilim Svečnjak Memorial Gallery. Vilim Svečnjak died in Zagreb, after prolonged illness, on June 3, 1993. For half a century, Marta Svečnjak was much more than a wife and partner to Vilim Svečnjak. She was his muse, inspiration, mainspring, model, dream, and at the same time his documentalist, critic, exhibition decorator, and advisor in general. Her name is part of the Memorial Collection title because Vilim Svečnjak would not have been able to produce such a great opus without her.