Mani Gotovac

Nov 12, 1939 - Nov 12, 2019(80)

Love through pictures

A parting arranged without our will also promises a meeting, right?

Mani Gotovac, a successful theater critic, playwright and director, had a turbulent love life. She always kept the last name of her first husband, Pere Gotovac. When asked why, she replied that she wanted her daughter to have the same last name. She broke up shortly after she started an intense love affair with Željko Senečić, a painter and scenographer.

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She described their love in the book in the somewhat autobiographical novel "Partings". They argued and reconciled, but they also loved each other, in an unusual way. They both left their families and marriages and moved into an attic apartment in Medulićeva. That apartment became a small center of intellectual life in Zagreb. According to her daughter, even Kirk Douglas and Bo Derek visited it. There, on a black wooden platform that also served as a home stage, is her writing corner. She typed reviews late into the night, and for writing she always used a black Continental typewriter that also belonged to her mother. She lived in the apartment until the moment when she could no longer climb the steep stairs to the third floor. And then she left him reluctantly.

To Seneca, as she called him, she too was bound by a lifelong love which, due to disagreements in life, turned from marital to friendly. She always kept the picture he gave her during their first year together. An unusual clown was painted on the picture - a frequent motif in Senečić's work.

This artist said goodbye to her in a similar way. Two days before his death, Seneca brought an abstract painting to her room in the nursing home as a gift. He told her that she would see a lot of their life together in that picture. Mani carefully preserved it. Their life, as he writes in his book, was marked by partings and meetings. And Yesenin would write about partings: "A parting arranged without our will also promises a meeting, right?".

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