Artworks in the Collection

Eagle (1933)

Animal figures, along with the female body and portraits, represent a clearly defined whole in Stijović’s work. Through a considerable number of themes and their frequency, they represent their author as the most prolific animalist sculptor in these region. His love of animals, some of which he kept as pets throughout his life, was awakened by his age-old friendship with the French sculptor, François Pompon. Stijović sculpted figures of parrots, grouses, leverets, owls, bear cubs and kittens in stone, mostly granite or marble, and less commonly in semi-precious stone or wood, mainly after he returned from Paris to Belgrade. He very rarely cast them in bronze. At the beginning of his career he did not exhibit them often but later they became a mandatory part of his exhibitions. He made a figure of an eagle for the first time, according to Katarina Ambrozić, in 1930, in wood; this bronze cast was made for Pavle Beljanski after Stijović’s exhibition in 1951. Today, the destiny of the wooden sculpture entitled Eaglet, which was reproduced in Branko Popović’s monograph on Risto Stijović (1933), remains unknown, but judging by the reproduction, wood was not the most fortunate choice of material for this topic. That same year, the statue was noticed by Rastko Petrović, and in his review in the newspaper “Politika” of 21 April 1933, he wrote the following about Stijović: “More lyrical that any other that comes to mind, he manages to bring out of his wood and stone, from the very heart, all the poetic preciousness of the tissue or firmness. Bound only by this great sensitivity to free materials and form in nature and, therefore, free from historical influences, Stijović manages to come close to great creations of art with his works.”

Risto Stijović