Artworks in the Collection

Self-portrait (1926)

The creation of this picture can be linked to the period of Konjović’s education and research in Paris (1924/26), after Prague (1919/20) and Vienna (1921/22). Under the influence of Picasso’s works, of which he learned from Maurice Raynal’s monograph, Konjović started painting in a cubist style as early as 1922 in his native Sombor, in an attempt to create a fusion of early renaissance painting with Cézanne, and in 1925/6 he painted in the neoclassicist spirit under
the influence of André Derain. The Self-portrait is characterized by modelling through a play of light and shadow, monochromy was achieved through the gradation of ochre and brown tones with a predominant smooth facture, and only in some sections of the hair and collar fine brushstrokes are visible. This partially lessens the consistency in the modelling of the face in this self-portrait which was painted in 1926 in the painter’s Parisian studio in Montrouge
and shown at Konjović’s first solo exhibition in the District Hall in Sombor in October 1926. The style of Self-portrait can be linked to the Portrait of Maurice Betts exhibited in November that same year at the Autumn Salon in Grand Palais in Paris. “He [Konjović] sent the portrait of our friend, Maurice Betts, a monochromatic piece, powerful, carefully thought-out, respectable, I even think – although it may make me sound pretentious – that this is as much a portrait of a dream as it is of a real man,” wrote a respectable French art critic, Raymond Regamey. The Self-portrait is the only painting in the Memorial Collection that Pavle Beljanski did not buy directly from the artist, but in 1965, just before he died, he gave a painting from his collection, Woman in the Interior, also by Konjović, to Ljubiša Nikolić from Novi Sad, in exchange for this canvas.

Milan Konjović