Artworks in the Collection

Portrait of Pavle Beljanski (1943)

The friendship of Zora Petrović and Pavle Beljanski was the most valuable in her life. They shared a passion for art and patriotism, characteristic of the generation of people who came to Serbia between the two world wars from the regions which were formerly under the rule of large empires, people who were conscious of their role in the development of their national culture. Sincere and honest, Zora Petrović was a reliable advisor in the selection of paintings for Pavle Beljanski’s collection, and he gave her some undoubtedly valuable support in her work. Zora Petrović’s painting and her understanding of art were completely compatible with the image Pavle Beljanski had about the specific national visual expression, for which spontaneity, emotionality, colour scheme, a wealth of subject matter and directness of execution were central. Pavle Beljanski had probably initiated the idea of a cycle entitled “The Lament of Kosovo” in which Zora Petrović was supposed to achieve a synthesis of form and colour, complete her work and add to it a new, historical and philosophical dimension. Out of the friendship between Zora Petrović and Pavle Beljanski, whom she met almost on a daily basis when he was in Belgrade, came several faithful portraits of Beljanski, wearing a suit and tie and a handkerchief in his pocket while sitting in an armchair in her studio. These portraits, a unique diary of a friendship, have a characteristic thin layer of paint and blurred colours, signaling a kind of caution or desire of the artist to oblige a sensitive friend, or at least not to disappoint him.

Zora Petrović