Artworks in the Collection

Sreten STOJANOVIĆ
The Artist’s Wife (1940)


“Gentle towards his family, kind to his friends,” at the apex of his ascent, with his career at its zenith, Stojanović was facing the beginning of World War II. “He had only succeeded in finishing the bust My Wife, a masterpiece in marble, refined in its modelling and pure in its poetic feel, with which he concluded twenty two years of artistic work.” The marble bust described by Lazar Trifunović, whose smooth surfaces exude love towards the model and the sophistication of the material itself was executed by the artist in 1941. Using the same mould, he cast a replica in silver the previous year, in 1940. Its surfaces still reveal that shimmer and densified material structure possessed by works in bronze. The portrait from 1940, and particularly the comparison of the two versions indicate his return to the real, on which Stojanović would focus in the period to come. Having traversed the long way from the Portrait of a Friend, as a certain kind of “plastic fantasy”, through stylized form as a means of emphasizing characteristic features (Giacometti the Sculptor) and the early Portrait of My Wife (1929), when “for the first time, life with its individual characteristics inhabited his sculpture,” he incorporated the rule of “the holy trinity of portrait sculpture: man, artist and form” into his superb portraits. This is why Rastko Petrović noticed that Stojanović was achieving “great art indeed” in the portraits. The emotion circulating between the sculptor and his subjects remains an omnipresent constant, which is more apparent than anywhere else in both versions of his wife (1940, 1941).

Sreten Stojanović