Artworks in the Collection

Vegetables (1932)

Artists who found their creative path in the world’s art capitals between the two world wars exhibited their works in the Art Pavilion “Cvijeta Zuzorić” from the first Autumn Exhibitions onwards. The canvas entitled Vegetables was one of Gvozdenović’s paintings exhibited at the famous Tenth Autumn Exhibition in 1937. A sketch on the same subject is also kept in the Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection. Small in size, this painting belongs to Gvozdenović’s first period when the painter alternated between two motifs: landscape and still-life. Even when his thematic repertoire broadened, the artist nurtured these themes until the end of his life, changing only the artistic treatment and his visual approach. In the Vegetables, a painting with a pale palette, Gvozdenović painted commonplace as if it was something precious, expressing hidden belief that every detail, no matter how insignificant, can be an incentive for virtuosity in painting. A small cabbage head, celery and an onion, concrete objects, were merely starting points for a colouristic weave where brushstroke after brushstroke possessed its own “light and colour value, length, direction, density of paint and thickness of layer.” In this painting, in the distant sound of recognizable reality, in the simple composition of vegetables on a perspectively undefined background, Gvozdenović harmonizes everything and forges strong inner connections, and brings everything back to reality and recognizability in an abstract way, through fragmented lightness value systems, with discretely placed colouristic accents and the movement and contrasts of the basic lines. It was exactly through paintings such as this that Gvozdenović earned the title of the “painter of small things.”

Nedeljko Gvozdenović