Artworks in the Collection

Motif from Bosnia (1937)

Landscapes from Bosnia are undoubtedly a basic motif in the art of Jovan Bijelić. This piece from 1937 is also a clear indicator of a firmly established relationship with the theme. The historical milieu was replaced by a timeless everyday scene: the house as a metaphor of one’s origins and nature with its universal power which time cannot triumph over. Authentic Bosnia, devoid of recognizable topography, is presented as a personal experience. This is supported by the neutral titles of these paintings: motif, scenery, landscape, panorama. Produced mainly outside of Bosnia, these pieces carry an image of his native soil, which resides in his memory as pure and naked nostalgia. Although recognizable, the subject was basically only hinted at with a blob of paint, so that the final experience is based more on impression than on literal copying. Subjectively and artistically rendered, Bosnia is conceived more as a scenerysymbol than as a direct observation. At the same time, Bijelić does not embellish Bosnia, as he sees no need for it. He loves it as it is. And it is this very absence of idealization that makes his Bosnian landscapes convincing, suggestive and authentic. It is a feeling he describes with the words: “During the long years of my studies and searching, of everything I gathered within myself, my head and my pockets, all that remains is my Bosnia and its landscapes. Not one particular hill, not one meadow, but the vision of what lives on in me as my Bosnia. Then I suddenly realized that I am a painter of this land and that outside that I am nothing and can say nothing.”

Jovan Bijelić