The exhibition “One Quite (un)Usual Serbian-French Connection. Olga Kešeljević and Marc Barbezat”

The story of two people, their destinies, mutual relations, connections with the European intellectual and artistic elite served as the basic narrative of the exhibition One Quite (un)Usual Serbian-French Connection. Olga Kešeljević and Marc Barbezat. Thinking about Serbian-French relations outside of the grand historical narratives, the exhibition emphasizes that small signs in time can become anchor points where the cultures of Serbia and France intertwine. Overcoming the oblivion through creativity and investment in art, as Olga Kešeljević and Marc Barbezat nurtured Serbian-French artistic ties, as one of the possible ways for an individual to oppose the meaninglessness of everyday life. Commitment to “small” stories is one of the leading tasks of recent art history, and this exhibition tries to show it. It is a story about life. About an inexhaustible love for literature and painting. About an (un)usual relationship and the desire to overcome oblivion. The exhibition includes 95 artworks – among which the most prominent are the works of Ljubica Cuca Sokić, artist and close friend of Olga Kešeljević. In addition to her rich painting work, for the first time the artist will be presented to the audience as an illustrator and graphic designer. The exhibition also includes the works of other Serbian modernists such as Ivan Tabaković, Bogdan Šuput and Peđa Milosavljević, as well as rich documentary material – letters from Olga Kešeljević and Marc Barbezat, as well as books from Barbezat’s publishing house L’Arbalètte. In addition to works from the Gallery’s collection, the exhibition is complemented by works and material from the National Library of Serbia, Archives and Gallery of the Serbian Academy of Science and private collections.

The exhibition was created on the basis of a scientific study Olga Kešeljević and Marc Barbezat. One Quite (un)Usual Serbian-French Connection, authored by prof. Dijana Metlić, PhD, published by the Gallery of Matica Srpska in 2020. By following and reconstructing the lives of the intellectuals Olga Kešeljević and Marc Barbezat, their activities, art collection, books they published, available epistolary material and photos from family albums, the author has united personal history and art, the individual and European artistic trends with this study and exhibition. It is a significant contribution to the study of cultural ties between France and Serbia.

The exhibition was organized as part of the Month of Francophonie through the cooperation of the Gallery of Matica srpska with the French Institute in Serbia – Novi Sad, and thanks to the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia.


Starts: 03. March 2023.
Ends: 14. May 2023.



  • Suitable for: for all ages