Artworks in the Collection

Marko ČELEBONOVIĆ
Chess (1933)


This painting is the first in a series ending with the Interior with a Plaster Head (1937), a series dominated by a greenish gamut. Present in the subtext of every colour, the green accent forms the atmosphere of the painting. By a special, layered application of colours, the author introduced the “slow-motion experience” into the painting. It is one of the three pieces by Čelebonović from 1933 in the Beljanski collection and although it was created in the quiet and quaint surroundings of Saint-Tropez, a small fishing village in the South of France, the canvas entitled Chess represents a masterpiece in Serbian painting. Although of the same size as the other Čelebonović paintings in the Beljanski collection, it exudes monumentality. The chessboard with pieces, already moved in the course of the game, summons the presence of the players missing from the painting. The table, with a light, wavy doily and a few objects dear to the painter suggest both an interior and a still-life. The sofa, already depicted in the Girl in Blue Trousers, represented in a plastic colouristic manner, stands out from the background of the barely noticeable wall, closing the space of the painting. Retreating in this way into the privacy of his room, a familiar environment, Čelebonović demonstrated that he did not experience real space only visually, but also with all his being. Taking the mundane as a
starting point, as Bergson would conclude, he strove towards that other, vague realm of our intelligence, which conceals the true nature of things. Composed like a fragment from an interior, with a multitude of secondary meanings and indications, this canvas speaks of Čelebonović’s affiliation with the painting of the Serbian intimist circle. According to the painter’s words, it was exhibited in the Salon des Tuilleries in Paris; Pavle Beljanski purchased it in France.

Marko Čelebonović