Artworks in the Collection

Marko ČELEBONOVIĆ
Still -life (1933)


Still-life is the last painting Pavle Beljanski purchased for his collection from Čelebonović personally after World War II. Judging by the way it was painted it is also the “youngest” painting from the “green” period in this collection. The statement made by Marko Čelebonović: “My preoccupations have never been focused on the aesthetic side of painting but on that which can stir and inspire a man drastically,” can be applied to this painting. What is there to stir and inspire the observer in this depiction which is unclear in the spatial, formal and thematic sense? The structural map of the
painting is not entirely defined. On the table, which fades into the darkness, the introduced information is not positioned accurately. A white vase underlined by a green shadow (the dominant tone of the painting) and a floral arrangement in patches of different brightness values with shapes separated by black outlines represent the middle of the canvas surface. It also divides the surface into two wholes: the right one, almost devoid of objects and saturated by “spotty” light patches in the upper part and dark ones in the lower part with a fine shading of the transition in between; the fullness of the left whole is determined by the vertical of the ochre and the diagonal of the green-brown surface, which only hints at a fabric. This very “hint” of the fabric represents the incentive for this painting: the colourful scarf which served as a turban for the painter’s wife, Vreni, for the fancy-dress party. The painter conjured up the intimacy of this small, closed ambience, unfathomable and secretive “because it lives and imposes itself with its other appearance”, with the use of colour, translucent in places, almost like watercolour, but somewhere thick and applied in thick layers of paste, through which he emphasized all the strength of its contrast, the strength of its brightness value and the material nature of the objects.

Marko Čelebonović