Artworks in the Collection

Yellow Shawl (1937)

According to poet and writer Veljko Petrović, who took part in organizing the Exhibition of Modern Yugoslav Art in Rome in 1937 as Head of the Art Department in the Ministry of Education, Bijelić brought the still wet painting of the Man with a Yellow Shawl “when the final preparations to ship the exhibits off to the Italian capital were underway.” This testifies, perhaps most faithfully, to the artist’s temperament and the way he experienced painting. This small-scale study clearly shows Bijelić’s ability to complete a piece successfully in only a few quick brushstrokes. The thick yellow facture of the scarf, which divides the painting vertically into two uneven, asymmetrical parts, and the accurately bisected black and white hat accentuate the prevailing dark gamut. This contrasting effect seems to reach its culmination on the subject’s face, symmetrically divided by the nose, which is of different colour than the rest of the face. Reducing the palette to a smaller number of dark, deep colours, with only a few colouristicic accents, further enhances the tension of the experience. The minimalism of the available thematic repertoire and the simplicity of the composition create the scene with a premeditated understatement and dramatic suspense. The picture, painted at the time when dark colours became predominant over the cheerful colours in the artist’s work harbinged the tumultuous years to come – as a herald of a different Bijelić and a different time.

Jovan Bijelić