Artworks in the Collection

Woman with Turban (1933)

The woman in the portrait represents the painter’s wife Verena (Vreni) dressed up in an oriental costume with a colourful turban; Čelebonović painted her after they had returned from a fancydress party. The painter particularly liked the colourful fabric of the turban, which was the main incentive for the painting. Immediately after this one, he did several more paintings with the same fabric, among others the Still-life from the collection of Pavle Beljanski. Although Vreni’s figure, sitting down and leaning on the table surface with her crossed arms, represents the focus of the painter’s interest, he paid equal attention to the surrounding space – its organization and interaction with the model. With regard to the figure itself, one immediately notices the emphasized expressiveness, bordering on caricature or a Daumieresque grotesque, in contrast to the almost geometrical organization of the background. The fact that it is mostly taken up by the gaping doorway indicates the painter’s concentration on the atmosphere of the space in between and that he looked away from the center of the painting. The other detail that attracts the eyes is the light surface of the diagonally positioned book, following Vreni’s crossed arms, and the diagonal of her shoulders. This disruption of the geometrical regularity of the composition is balanced out by the emphasized colouristic contrasts of the clothes. Pavle Beljanski purchased the painting for his collection from the painter in France before World War II.

Marko Čelebonović