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Permanent Exhibition of the 20th century

Modernism of the 20th Century ‒ Continuities and Confrontation

In the period after the Second World War, the Gallery of Matica srpska focused significant attention to the collection and exhibition of the art of the 20th century. For the first time, in 1953, the Gallery organized a permanent exhibition that included paintings and sculptures of the first half of the 20th century. In 1992, upon the finished renovation of the building, a new space on the second floor of the Gallery was devoted to the permanent setting of the work of the first part of the 20th century. That marked the beginning of a great return of the art of the 20th century to the Gallery and a series of modern art exhibitions. In the meantime, the art fund of the 20th century has been considerably strengthened with purchases, gifts and legates, and in the most recent past, with the “Tarkett” company art collection.

By following the art of the 20th century from the collections of the Gallery of Matica srpska and its punctums, one can distinguish almost all modernist and, in line with that, critical statements, ideas and starting points. The art of modernism evolves through this path as a multi-layered application of ideas, ideologies, aesthetics, personal philosophies, styles, clashes, continuity, adventures, internal migration, conflicts and dreams.

Should we see it that way, as a spiral or a maze of paths that must be re-examined over and over, through trial and error, we must adhere to the basic tendency of the 20th century modernism and understand it as a constant and always vital interactive and an inter-textual dialogue practice of the past and the present, the “old” and the “new”, as an open system of analysis, interpretation, deliberation and understanding. Therefore, today’s artistic material, both from the first and from the second half of the past century, makes a coherent, although still insufficiently rounded, but nevertheless sufficiently clear unit, capable of mapping the most important points of development of modern and contemporary art over the past century through the exhibition.

The Author of the Permanent Collection of the Serbian Art of the 20th century is Lidija Merenik, PhD, a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, at the Department of Art History.

The realization of the Permanent Collection of the Serbian Art of the 20th century was made possible by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia.

Богдан Шупут, Кафана у Паризу, 1939.

Bogdan Šuput,
A bar in Paris, 1939

Сава Шумановић, Плажа, 1929.

Sava Šumanović,
The Beach, 1929

Иван Табаковић, Медитација, 1959.

Ivan Tabaković,
Meditation, 1959

Милан Коњовић, Аутопортрет с цигаретом, 1923.

Milan Konjović,
Self-portrait with a cigarette, 1923

Петар Омчикус, Гувернерова вила у Задру, 1947.

Petar Omčikus,
The Governor’s villa in Zadar, 1947

Ђорђе Бошан, Мртва природа са корама од поморанџе, 1956.

Đorđe Bošan,
Still life with orange peel, 1956

Надежда Петровић, Помпеји, 1907.

Nadežda Petrović,
Pompeii, 1907

Петар Добровић, Једрилице у луци, 1935.

Petar Dobrović,
Sailboats in the harbour, 1935

Сава Шумановић, Морнар на молу, 1921–22.

Sava Šumanović,
Sailor at the pier, 1921/22

Лазар Возаревић, Оплакивање Христа, 1956.

Lazar Vozarević,
Lamentation of Christ, 1956

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Art 1907‒1947

In the period until 1941 within the Collection of The Gallery of Matica srpska, Modernisms predominantly belong to the ideological matrix of civil art, intellectual and class elites, and the central public sphere and iconosphere, its legitimacy, aesthetics and taste. Several stages and trends of modernism can be observed, among which dominant thematic frames can be observed, including self-portraits, portraits and travels.

Art After 1950

Modernisms of the rehabilitation of continuity and further improvement to a truly modern, self-evident painting are no longer, “civic”, due to the change of the political-ideological paradigm, but are mostly not “anti-government” either. They are something completely new – a conquered world of experiments, free will and a permanent aspiration toward the liberation from excessive narratives, from permissive pressure and from conforming to the taste or political will of the central public sphere. In a word, they aspired toward and, mostly definitely achieved, both the author’s autonomy, as well as the autonomy of works of art.