Artworks in the Collection

Ivan TABAKOVIĆ
Lemons (1941)


The painting Lemons along with the painting Still-life (1940), is an extraordinary example of a very reduced and repertoire-wise minimized still-life characteristic of his earliest Belgrade period. As far as insisting on a method of conveying the maximum with minimum of resources, it is probably the most important painting from Tabaković’s opus until 1955. He introduced a special type of layout-arrangement: the raised surface of the table with an irregular perspective shortening, which usually takes up 2/3 or 3/4 of the painting’s surface, and “supports” the objects that are on it. Like other still-lifes from the Novi Sad and the early Belgrade periods, the statics of the objects in the painting is disturbed, because they are “sliding” out of the painting – whereby Tabaković achieves an impression of kinetics in the scene and displays a synthesis of a Cézannean approach to composing planes and Hoffman’s principle of flat surfaces, the basic postulates of modernist painting. In that sense, this painting is the best realization of such a synthetic approach. On the other hand, it shows all the delicateness of Tabaković the colourist, who builds a scene with a masterful variation of a broad range of tones in two colours – yellow and green and the forceful drawing in the painting’s skeleton. Leaving in only the functionally essential forms and discarding all superfluous narrative, decorum and the overemphasis of the constitutive visual tools in the painting, Tabaković achieves a maximum visual effect through reductionism.

Ivan Tabaković