The exhibition presents 74 canvases and drawings selected by the art critic Marin Dobrev, director of the Art Gallery of the town of Stara Zagora. The selected works belong to the Art Gallery of the town of Stara Zagora, the National Art Gallery, the Sofia City Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of the town of Bourgas, the Art Gallery of the town of Sliven, the Art Gallery of the town of Kazanluk and private collections.
Mario Zhekov (Marin Todorov Zhekov) is one of the most prominent Bulgarian marine artists, fascinated with the delicate way the waves touch the shore, with the gentle flutter caused by the playful interaction between light and shade. His works are inspired by the desire for peace and harmony, a desire characteristic of the works of Bulgarian landscape artists working between the two world wars.
The artist was born on October 16, 1898 in the town of Stara Zagora. He studied, with interruptions, at the State Art Industrial School in Sofia and the Paris Painting School. The landscapes he painted following his trip to Istanbul in 1921 were the earliest convincing proof of his talent. They reveal a variety of painting techniques that is to become a characteristic feature of all his works. In the 1930’s and the early 1940’s Mario Zhekov reached the peak of his artistic maturity. This is when he travelled along the French coast, to the Bulgarian seaside towns of Balchik, Varna, Nesebur and Sozopol, as well as to the Aegean Sea coast and the city of Ohrid. The year of 1937, which he spent in the city of Dubrovnik, is a particularly productive one for the artist. The popularity of his landscapes among the Croatian public and the critical acclaim they brought him resulted in soloexhibitions in Prague, Budapest and Bucharest.
The social changes that took place after the Second World War resulted in the marginalization of landscape artists. Mario Zhekov earned his living designing brochures advertising Bulgarian seaside resorts. He died on August 3, 1955.