Artworks in the Collection

Interior (1935)

A solemn atmosphere is a frequent occurrence in Čelebonović’s paintings: the layout is solemn, so is the deliberate elongation and monumentality of the figures, very restrained in their gestures. The figure in the Interior, still like a sculpture, is neither more nor less alive than the figurines on the chest of drawers in front of the mirror. Mixing the animate (the human figure) and the inanimate (plaster heads, sculptures) lends the space a de Chiricolike dimension, where one forgets for a moment what is life and what is not, when people start resembling statues. The woman is sitting at the table in the lower left corner of the painting, while the surface of the table represents some sort of a foreground, and all the other objects (the chest of drawers, the window, the door, the painting) are situated along the edges of the space, giving the central part to the red rug from Pirot (the most powerful colouristic detail) which features in several of his paintings. In the room itself, a middle-class ambience often painted by Čelebonović, there is no trace of people and no trace of them ever inhabiting it (except for the woman at the table, engaged in some nondescript activity), and yet it appears less alienated and desolate than a similar room in the interior entitled Family/Company (1931). The painting was realized in Čelebonović’s narrowest colouristic scale, with an even tonality of light greenbrown
colours, with the aforementioned red patch of the rug in the middle. The fine painted transitions cancel out the sharpness of the objects and soften the constructive remains of the painting making a kind of poetry which, as Marko Čelebonović used to say, “We can neither prove nor define what we can feel.” The painting, the property of Marko’s uncle, was stolen together with the other fifteen works, from his apartment in Belgrade during World War II. Although Beljanski never revealed from whom he had purchased it, Čelebonović was glad the painting ended up in his collection.

Marko Čelebonović